Giving up personal security to take care of the financial security of others

In the perspective of the first RIA Intel Awards in SeptemberRIA Intel will post Q&As and other short articles highlighting this year’s accomplishments nominees and rising stars.

When Jacky Petit-Homme left his steady career at Merrill Lynch in 2021, he wasn’t sure his new Philadelphia-based wealth management firm – Liberty One Wealth Advisors – had been the right move. The company now has about $75 million in assets under management and serves about 120 households.

The son of first-generation Haitian immigrants, Petit-Homme reflects on the lessons he learned in his new role. Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

What is the biggest challenge and opportunity you have encountered in your financial career?

The most difficult challenge was deciding to go independent last September. My two partners and I worked at a large Fortune 500 company that offered us a salary and lots of support. I was taking a leap and hoping that the relationships I had built with our clients would be strong enough to see us through. It definitely worked out better than any of us could have imagined. We were able to add a fourth CFP to the team in less than a year, and we’re also building a volunteer financial planning department, so people can come in and get their financial questions answered.

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What are some of the trends you are currently seeing in the wealth management space?

When I started it was like ‘What’s your wallet? What is your asset allocation? How is your performance?’ Today, potential clients ask, “Can you help us with our tax planning?” » Can you talk about estate planning? Can you talk about our insurance plan? Customers are looking for more than just an investment item; it is now about the complete financial situation, because in the end, the investment represents only a small part of their overall financial health. Now it’s all about what you can do to give your client some peace of mind about their overall financial life. I tell many of my clients that our goal is to be the CFO of their family. When it comes to a financial decision, big or small, I want them to think of me first.

Can you tell us about your advocacy efforts?

From an industry perspective, I have advocated for widespread financial literacy education, especially in marginalized populations. I’ve worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters, local parent groups, and organizations that run seminars, and I’m in the process of developing a curriculum for a nonprofit organization designed to make financial literacy more accessible, than I’m trying to launch by the end of 2023.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Jacky Petit-Homme’s last name, it’s Petit-Homme not Little-Man.

The inaugural RIA Intel Awards are a celebration of financial advisors, wealth management firms and industry leaders. The results will be announced at a gala dinner and ceremony at the Metropolitan Club in New York on September 14, 2022. Click here to sponsor or register for the event.

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Caitlin Keating (@caitkeating) is a freelancer at RIA Intel and based in New York.

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Sarah J. Greer