Interview with Gary Stallard
AUTHOR: Gary W. Stallard
IdeaTransfer interviews Gary Stallard on the relationship between client and advisor, the importance of objectivity and the reaction to Texas Financial Partners.
Founder, Texas Financial Partners
Founder, Stallard Financial Services
IT. Clients often describe relationships with trusted advisors in terms of peace of mind. What does the relationship mean from your side?
Gary. Client relationships come in all shapes and sizes. I am fortunate to have very long and very personal relationships with many of my clients. I get see the impact my work has on their business, family, and philanthropic goals. We all appreciate they are doing the right thing today and for generations to come.
I am also engaged by client advisors on behalf of their clients to analyze problems and create solutions. I might engage personally with the family or the business, but satisfaction comes from bringing a fresh perspective and alternatives to a team of brilliant advisors. We all appreciate increasing client benefits, lowering costs, and achieving a higher internal rate of return.
IT. If you could name one defining component you bring to the table for clients and advisors, what would choose?
Gary. No question the most important element I offer is objectivity. Objectivity means I won’t hesitate to challenge assumptions or conclusions and that my advice will always be sound and reliable. And by the way, objectivity means I don’t feel I need or want to sell a life insurance policy to have a successful client relationship. It is too common in this industry for agents to analyze policies and find reasons to replace them with “more efficient” alternatives.
Client may want to save money today, but they don’t realize that they may lose valuable guarantees. They see the new proposal projecting whatever they give up today will be earned again in a few years. Meanwhile the agent enjoys a commission from the sale that didn’t have to occur. Objectivity requires that you first try to achieve efficiencies by working with the current insurer on the client’s behalf. There is no monetary reward for that, only the reward that your integrity is intact.
IT. Life insurance solutions are uniquely long term, addressing events that may not occur for decades. Can peace of mind last that long?
Gary. Here’s why Texas Financial Partners is so important to clients and advisors. The planning process we go through for affluent families and the businesses they own can be very complex. At the end clients experience a sense of relief—now they have clarity, they feel confidence, they see a coordinated solution for the future.
However, after a few years pass they won’t be able to articulate how their life insurance policies apply to specific components of the plan. That’s OK because they know I’m monitoring the policies and the plan, and I make sure the plan responds to change.
But what happens if for any reason—planned or unplanned—I can’t continue to work for decades? And what happens when the next generation takes ownership of this multigenerational plan—will it adapt or fall apart? Texas Financial Partners answers that challenge with our client continuity merger. It’s provides a systematic way to seamlessly meet each partner’s commitment to clients when these transitions happen.
IT. You have introduced Texas Financial Partners’ client continuity strategy to many advisor colleagues and clients. What is the reaction?
Gary. Clients are relieved to get this issue resolved, because it has been given lip service for years. Advisors take particular interest in Texas Financial Partners, because we are all in the same boat. We can’t claim to advise our clients how to plan for uncertainties and leave our own longevity is one of the uncertainties. Our client continuity merger is simply doing for ourselves what we do for our clients.
IdeaTransfer is an independent firm with three decades of experience consulting with advisors, advisors groups, and financial institutions.
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