Evan Harp sat down with John J. Lomba to discuss his journey as a financial advisor, his approach to building trust with clients, and his takes on the topics that will seize the headlines in 2024.
Evan Harp: When and how did your practice begin?
John J. Lomba: We began what is now known as Gratium Wealth Planning in 2016. At the time, we managed $300 million with at team of five advisors. Today we are over 40 advisors strong with over $2.5 billion AUM.
Lomba on His Holistic Approach
Harp: What is your investment philosophy?
Lomba: At our core, we are holistic financial planners. It is through the financial planning process that we build trust with our clients. We help our clients understand that every financial decision is an investment either money, time, or both. And we help clients understand risk and time horizon so that we can properly allocate assets to the proper risk-based models and/or insurance strategies. We help clients understand real, after-tax returns to help them make better investments that will keep them ahead of inflation and manage the tax impact of their investment decisions. And we help our clients through the estate planning process working in conjunction with their estate planning attorney to create the family outcomes they desire.
Scaling for Growth
Harp: What is the biggest obstacle you had to overcome, and how did you do it?
Lomba: Scaling our business through our growth was a challenge. The goal of keeping the highest-quality client experience intact while working with more clients through more advisors continues to be a priority. Ultimately, the solution was to strengthen the DNA of our team and work hard to instill the core principles of holistic planning into each advisor. We created subject matter expert positions. That affords advisors the ability to introduce concepts to clients through subject matter experts on the team. This reinforced the TEAM concept while preserving the client/advisor relationship.
Financial Services Community
Harp: Exchange is slated for February 11-14. What do you think will be the biggest financial news story around that time?
Lomba: I believe the Fed will still command headlines related to whether or not rates will remain unchanged or if cuts are eminent. I believe, beyond Q3, the headlines will be predominantly election-related.
Harp: Who is another financial advisor that inspires you, and why?
Lomba: Nick Murray has had a profound impact on me and how I feel about the profession. One of his quotes that rings true to me is, “We as financial professionals have not earned the right to plan for opportunities without first planning for the unexpected.” This philosophy is reflected in how we seek to understand the risks our clients and their families face and work protection planning into our portfolios to offset those risks.
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