May 20, 2020
AdvisoryCloud Featured Advisor Interview with Frank Fantozzi
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Frank was interviewed by AdvisoryCloud on May 20, 2020, as part of our Featured Advisor Interview series.
I began my career in 1987 with the international accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where I was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the tax and wealth management division. I earned the AICPA’s Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation and a Master of Science in Taxation (MST) from The University of Illinois. I am also an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
In 2020, for the third consecutive year, I was recognized as a Top Wealth Advisor in Ohio in the annual Best-In-State Wealth Advisors list published by Forbes. In 2019, I was named a Northeast Ohio Smart 50 Honoree among Northeast Ohio’s top executives, and in 2018, I was honored as a Medical Mutual Northeast Ohio Pillar Award for Community Service honoree and named Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year for my service as Chairman of the Board of Directors for LifeAct®. In 2015, I was recognized as a top U.S. Retirement Plan Adviser by the Financial Times.
The combination of my financial acumen and more than 25 years leading an entrepreneurial business makes me uniquely qualified to serve enables me to serve as a trusted business advisor and confidant to fellow entrepreneurs. We are able to discuss investment and financial planning matters in addition to business advice, including employee matters, continuity planning and other issues that can impact the success of a business.
I’m a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), where I’m active on its tax and financial planning subcommittees; in the International Association for Financial Planning (IAFP); the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA); Fi360; Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO); and the Entrepreneurs Master’s Program.
My upbringing had an enormous impact on my motivation to become an independent financial advisor. As the firstborn of an Italian immigrant family, I was the first in my family to attend college. I also began working multiple jobs at age 13, after school and on weekends, when my father fell ill. Events impacting my own family led to my commitment to create a financial and investment management firm focused on helping people experience the independent life they desire through access to greater choice and direction.
Prior to founding Planned Financial Services in 1994, working in the CPA industry, I had seen the tremendous opportunities missed as a result of conflicts of interest that proliferated within an industry that failed to serve clients in two important areas: 1) viewing their financial lives from a holistic perspective and 2) placing the financial industry’s interests first. There was a real need for advisors who could help clients align their desired outcomes with their values and provide advice that was relevant and tailored to their needs and situation. In other words, help them pursue the Return On Life® they desire.
My passion for family, entrepreneurship, hard work, and giving back to the community are driving forces in how I live my life, and what I try to achieve for each of my clients by leading an independent financial advisory firm.
At Planned Financial Services, we’re uniquely positioned to help business owners and entrepreneurial families protect and grow a lifetime of financial assets. As a business owner myself, I am faced with many of the same complex challenges and decisions that our clients face. Our clients appreciate our candid yet empathetic team approach to helping them make the decisions that are right for them and their families by always placing their best interests first. For our clients, access to a team of advisors with deep experience across multiple financial disciplines and who bring different perspectives to the wealth management process is critical for accomplishing their goals.
In addition, our innovative Return on Life® approach really personalizes the wealth management process. It reflects all aspects of how families define their success in life. By combining insightful analysis with customized financial strategies, it focuses on a series of personally defined measures that extend well beyond investment performance to include factors that enable business and career achievement, family harmony, and personal goals and accomplishments. Importantly, it enables us to measure our performance based on how effectively our clients are tracking toward their life goals.
For more than 25 years, we have continued to find new ways to meet the growing needs of our clients through unique programs targeted to high net worth families and business owners. These include our Complete Family Office (CFO)SM services, WealthPlanTM, cutting-edge reporting and financial organizational software like Fortigent, Balancing ActSM bill management services, Healthnetwork Foundation complementary healthcare concierge services for select clients, Divorce RightSM, and 401(k)Prosperity®, the firm’s corporate retirement plan, and institutional investment services division.
An increasingly regulated business environment and the emergence of online “robo advice” platforms in recent years has led many in our industry to adapt in different ways. We have provided advice from a fiduciary perspective since I founded the firm in 1994, so in many ways, we feel like the industry is just catching up to us with the growing emphasis on placing clients’ best interests first.
We have also embraced online advice for a segment of underserved clients that we feel could benefit from our advice and carefully crafted strategic portfolios but may not be at a point in their financial journey where they require full-service financial advisory services.
As a result, in 2019, we successfully launched our PFS Guided Wealth Plan, which combines the algorithmic intelligence and analytical statistics of an online portfolio manager with the personal touch and support of a professional wealth advisor through our Guided Wealth Portfolios (GWP). We believe the platform provides an effective and sensible investment solution for those new to investing, and/or those with smaller account values (typically $5,000-$250,000). Clients with one-time or ongoing planning needs can also sign up for one of our financial advisory services bundles.
The financial crisis that began in 2007
tested our firm and the industry as a whole. It proved to be an opportunity to validate my belief that a team-based fiduciary approach to managing wealth could help clients more easily rebound from market adversity. Several years later, in 2014, we were in the enviable position of being able to nearly double the firm’s size through a strategic acquisition. Currently, despite a looming recession, we are actively seeking acquisition opportunities to continue growing our firm.
Our firm’s certification from the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, LLC (CEFEX) was also a hallmark accomplishment for 401(k) Prosperity®, the institutional and corporate retirement plan division of Planned Financial Services. Certification is only granted by CEFEX to firms that demonstrate adherence to fiduciary best practices and submit to annual audits to maintain their certification.
If you are interested in speaking with Frank about this topic or others, you can book a meeting with them through their AdvisoryCloud profile here - https://www.advisorycloud.com/profile/Frank-Fantozzi
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