Ed Grimpe joined the B. Riley Wealth Management team in 2020 as a regional manager tasked with growing the firm's Miami branch and expanding its footprint across the Southeastern United States. Grimpe also serves as a financial advisor, guiding both individual and corporate clients toward reaching their financial goals. Recently, we spoke with Grimpe about his career and background, what motivated him to join the firm, and how he has managed his clients through the COVID-19 climate.
How did you end up in the wealth management business?
After earning a business degree, I became a sales professional in the business-and-surgical instrument industries. Over time, I realized there were upper limits on what one could accomplish based on products, territories and contracts.
I made a career change and became a financial advisor because I was excited by the freedom and flexibility to have a business of any type or size, limited only by my imagination and willingness to work hard. I love what I do, and as a financial advisor, I have choices when it comes to the types of clients I work with and the way I want to grow my business.
I act primarily as a portfolio manager for my clients, building custom financial plans for them based on their unique goals, income needs and risk tolerance. My specific expertise is in high-quality, high-dividend stocks, and in this ultra-low interest rate environment, investors often generate more income from equity holdings rather than fixed income positions. This is particularly attractive to the large base of retired clients in southern Florida who need income to offset their living expenses.
You serve a dual purpose as both a branch manager and financial advisor. How have you managed working with clients, growing your business, and prospecting for recruits amid the current COVID-19 climate?
The COVID-19 climate has not reduced my ability to acquire new clients, because uncertainty and volatility create an environment in which people need more advice and guidance; not less. At the onset of the pandemic, recruiting slowed as advisors concentrated on serving their clients, but activity has increased again as we head into the first quarter of 2021.
B. Riley Wealth Management has become an attractive home for advisors because it offers a differentiated strategy as a boutique wealth management firm with investment banking and research capabilities through B. Riley Securities. Advisors are trending toward joining regional and boutique firms over wirehouses, and recruits are intrigued by the ability for these complimentary businesses to provide unique investment solutions for clients and new business opportunities.
What drew you to B. Riley Wealth Management when you were looking to make a move?
I spent my first 17 years as a financial advisor at a wirehouse, and up to that point it was all I had ever known. At that time, wirehouses provided advisors with best-in-class resources, research, tools and technology, which helped me meet the demands and expectations of my wealthiest clients. After the financial crisis of 2008 and major advances in technology, however, the playing field was leveled. I moved to a regional firm and enjoyed working in a different type of culture, but after a merger transformed the firm, I knew it was time to consider new options.
Once I met the B. Riley Wealth Management team, I knew I had found the right place. There were two primary factors that compelled me to join: The B. Riley Financial (RILY) platform, and the firm's philosophy that everyone must work together to serve the client. Once I officially made the move, my clients were receptive, and after a brief explanation of what we're about, they felt comfortable and were excited about the capabilities of the firm.
How are you taking advantage of the RILY platform to better serve your clients, and what has it meant to be part of a larger company with a full suite of financial solutions in your arsenal?
The way B. Riley Wealth Management is organized, along with the warm welcome I have received from colleagues across the firm, whether on the research and investment banking side or the B. Riley Advisory Services side, has been fantastic. My colleagues' contact information is easily accessible, and it is obvious from the top-down that the firm encourages its employees to work together and form relationships. I have spoken to many of them, and I'm only beginning to scratch the surface.
My clients have benefited from the firm's investment banking and research capabilities through B. Riley Securities, as I have been able to make a few introductions on behalf of business owners looking to raise capital. I have also been able to investigate some midcap companies not getting coverage elsewhere on behalf of my clients. The resources and technologies the firm has through First Clearing are also better than most, which has been a nice step up for my clients.
Are there any specific areas of wealth management that you think will be poised for growth in the next few years?
I think the trend toward boutique and independent firms will continue to expand as the wirehouse model declines, especially as financial advisors see the need to be more agile and proactive when it comes to managing portfolios, managing risk, and responding to geopolitical and financial market events. Environments change quickly, thus, financial advisors need to stay vigilant and ready to adjust at a moment's notice. We must also be creative in finding solutions to meet our clients' income needs in an ultra-low interest environment, which will likely remain for a long time.
If there was one tip you would share with business owners or investors right now about managing their finances well, what would it be?
My advice to business owners would be to conduct an assessment with revenue and expense projections for the next 6-12 months to ensure they have adequate capital in place to weather the storm. Especially because interest rates are so low, I would suggest they make sure their operations are cost-effective so they can build enough liquidity to manage themselves through the current environment.
What's happening in your life now that you will continue to consider after the coronavirus crisis is over, especially as it pertains growing your business and deepening your client relationships?
I think clients' openness to technology has taught us all
that we can work from home, while on the road, or from anywhere, and doing so
gives us more flexibility to better serve and advise them. This environment also
reinforces what we already know, which is that financial advisors need to
communicate with their clients regularly and be available to answer their
questions in real-time. Clients