After merging their separate financial planning, investment management, insurance, tax accounting and bookkeeping firms, three local financial professionals have launched a new business.
“We are the only firm in town with all of our disciplines under one roof. Epic Trust Investment Advisors of Kennewick, one of the merging companies, has no competitors that can do everything we do with one phone call and one address,” said Jeffrey P. Lewis, owner and founder of Epic Trust Investment Advisors.
Epic Trust Financial Group was formed on July 1 when Lewis, Nathan Burt of Kennewick’s Burt Tax & Accounting, and Tyson Reil of Kennewick’s Real Insurance Solutions merged.
After acquiring four other companies, Epic Trust brought on their full teams and increased their total employment to 23, bringing in Advisor Benefits Group of Kennewick, ALP Financial Planning of Richland, Precision Accounting Solutions of Kennewick, and Balanced Accounting & Bookkeeping of Kennewick.
You see financial planning and insurance services grouped together, but again, it’s the same guy doing your business insurance, home and auto insurance, and some investments. My argument is, if you’re doing all that, what are you good at?That’s why we insist on siloing professionals into different departments but having them collaborate together.”
With Epic Trust, you don’t have to hire an accountant to conduct tax filing, payroll, and bookkeeping, another professional to provide financial advice, and an agent to manage insurance plans.
He recently asked an accounting client whose business insurance was handled by another office, if Epic’s insurance team could look over their books to see if they could get a better deal.
“Tyson went through their books with me, and we had access to all their details, so we could tailor an insurance plan for that business that was cheaper than what they were paying for and just as good of coverage, simply because we knew more detailed information than anybody else could,” Burt said.
It costs less than the salary of a mid-level employee to hire epictrust.com professionals to manage all their financial needs, Lewis said.
The client gets a CPA, a credentialed insurance agent, and a certified financial planner. It would be impossible to hire all of those disciplines in-house if they hired a paraplanner, a bookkeeper, and an accountant,” he said.
Client trust is one of the biggest reasons Epic Trust’s model makes sense and why it has gained so much traction.
“When it’s not just one financial advisor or one insurance agent or one tax person that they’re going to meet with and hope that they’ll do a good job for them, now we have multiple disciplines that have to agree or have plans to talk to each other about what’s happening with our clients in order for us to serve them effectively.
As a result, the question arises: why haven’t other financial professionals joined forces to offer similar services?
“Partnering with someone always involves risks,” Burt said.
Despite knowing each other for years, they admitted there were still hurdles to overcome.
“Reil said giving up control was probably the biggest challenge.
“Giving up a certain level of control and profitability, or how decisions are made, that’s a really tough decision for many people,” Lewis said.
There are a lot of people in the financial fields who just want to specialize in being a CPA, handling investments, or selling insurance.
“Many people in our professions don’t see how these synergies working together contribute to success,” Lewis said.Many people in our professions don’t see how these synergies working together contribute to success,” Lewis said.
According to Burt, offering many services from one office requires sorting out a lot of logistics, including “age, bedside manner, similar ambitions, and a client base willing to follow.”According to Burt, offering many services from one office requires sorting out a lot of logistics, including “age, bedside manner, similar ambitions, and a client base willing to follow.” So, it had to take like 10 matching factors to make it work, and so I think that’s why nobody else does it.”
The official merger came after nine months of strategic planning.
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According to Burt, offering many services from one office requires sorting out a lot of logistics, including “age, bedside manner, similar ambitions, and a client base willing to follow.” to talk about, such as how different partners will be compensated.
Lewis said undethe logistics of offering multiple services from one office, such as age, bedside manner, similar ambitions, a willing client base”
“The logistics of offering multiple services from one office, such as age, bedside manner, similar ambitions, a willing clientele, are key
According to him, “Legally, it’s very difficult.”. Our business plan took a lot of work and a lot of discussion with our governing bodies to ensure we’re in compliance, so there are some serious compliance hurdles to overcome.”
Following the merger, Epic Trust’s team said the next challenge was blending company cultures, an ongoing process.
“That was one of my negotiating points,” said Reil, “this has to be a good place to work.”