Robert Guild: In his own words
My career path has spanned two industries, but each has focused on ‘Clients First’. After growing up in Edmonds, Washington, and putting myself through college at Washington State University, I entered the grocery industry with a regional wholesaler in the late 1970s. Using my love for math and history, I began and managed a market research department using statistics and consumer surveys to improve grocery store décor, hiring practices, and in-store offerings. Many of the store owners used our services for their long-range strategic planning. An opportunity to work for Procter & Gamble came along, so for five years I was tutored by one of the best business models in the country. I traveled all over the Northwest and Alaska, but a small voice within me began to speak louder with regards to my career path and goals.
In 1985, my financial services career began with Northwestern Mutual. Within months, I learned how very personal and important proper financial tools can be to families. First, I lost a brother-in-law to an auto accident, leaving my sister alone to raise their 18-month-old son. Shortly thereafter, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and died within months. Unfortunately, neither one had a financial plan in place. Right then I committed myself to a four-step "Client First" approach: protection, accumulation, distribution, and conservation of wealth.
As the 1990s approached, I took an opportunity to work the corporate side of risk management with the Chubb Companies, servicing their affluent client base. It was here that I began to focus on Estate and Legacy Planning.
During the mid-1990s, the securities markets began to gain momentum and soon dominated the financial services profession. My specialties grew with the market, and during that time I gained both my securities licenses and my professional designations: Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and the Certified Fund Specialist designation (CFS).
One hundred percent of my time was now devoted to mutual funds and asset allocation…matching a client’s risk profile and goals with the appropriate mix of mutual funds. I frequently found myself at the top of my company’s performance reports. Selling loaded mutual funds from a list of funds the company ‘allowed’ me to sell.
For all the success I was having, I began to experience an internal struggle that acknowledged that what was right for the client wasn’t necessarily what we had to offer—and what we only had to offer was loaded mutual funds. There were alternative, a ‘no-load’ funds. Less cost up front; less cost annually. But the company I worked for didn’t allow me to even show these ‘new’ funds to my clients.
I invested a great deal of time researching these ‘new’ funds, asset allocations, and such. The more information I gathered, the more I saw that the loaded funds my current company had to offer were getting beaten badly by no-load, low-fee, index funds. And my clients were paying the price.
During that time, I further became educated by the work of Ed Ward and Paul Merriman. Ed had repeatedly pushed for me to join him and Paul at Merriman Capital. The timing never seemed to be right, but we kept in touch regularly and actually shared clients in our respective specialties. When I heard that Ed opened a new firm offering the same type of services as Merriman - but at a discount - the advantages to clients was overwhelming. I didn’t need any convincing as to where my next move was going to be: Robinswood Financial at Carillon Point. That was early 2007.
A client-first focus, using no-load indexed mutual funds, was now able to combine my love of the industry with my commitment to clients.
On a personal note, my journey hasn’t been alone. My spare time is most often filled with family activities. My wife Susan and
I have been blessed with two great kids. Both are now graduated from college are pursuing their own dreams.
In addition to family time, I am committed to my community. I have served and continue to serve or volunteer with many local charities. Some of these charities are or have been: the Lake Washington Schools Foundation
, Matt Talbot Center
in Seattle, Bridge Ministries, Celtic Arts Foundation, Bike MS, American Lung Association, and as a member of our Stewardship Committee and Council at our church. I also enjoy anything Scottish, learning to play the bagpipes, cycling and reading military history. I am in the process of documenting as many veteran accounts as possible of what Tom Brokaw describes as "The Greatest Generation."
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