Next up in our series of profiles of advisory firms having success with the Black Diamond Wealth Platform is Essex Financial. Headquartered in Essex, CT and led by President and CEO, Charles “Chuck” Cumello, Essex Financial provides comprehensive wealth management and financial planning via customized solutions for individuals, businesses and corporate retirement plans.
While technically a broker-dealer/RIA hybrid, Essex Financial’s focus is on the RIA business, where 95% of their business originates. “We can handle a broad range of client situations, from the fairly routine retirement planning and college funding aspects, all the way up to the unique needs for intergenerational wealth transfer and legacy planning of high net worth clients,” notes Cumello.
Essex Financial has a long history of providing outstanding service to clients over the past 30 years and has grown to $3.3 billion in assets under management or administration via 21 financial advisors in multiple locations. Additionally, Essex Financial also provides wealth management services to Farmington Bank, creating a dynamic opportunity for additional growth.
As part of the Essex Financial service culture, Cumello places a strong emphasis on having a scalable technology infrastructure that enables his team to manage their large operations. “We are spread out in multiple locations, so having a platform like Black Diamond provides the critical pieces we need to efficiently deliver advice, whether that is through the client portal, document vault or even on iPads for in-person meetings,” Cumello says. “All of those pieces combined give us a tremendous solution.”
On the integration front, Essex Financial uses Money Guide Pro and eMoney for planning and a Salesforce overlay for CRM. “All of these systems come together through Black Diamond, including billing and client reporting, which can be customized so advisors can use it different ways.” Cumello also notes that Black Diamond goes above and beyond just their reporting. “Our compliance department uses it as well,” he says.
Prior to implementing Black Diamond, Essex Financial relied on technology they had outgrown and was not scalable. In Cumello’s words, “We were quickly delighted with the ability to customize reports easily and efficiently out of Black Diamond which allowed us to create a great interactive experience for our advisors and clients.”
Essex Financial requires its core technology solution to go beyond being just a technology vendor, but also to become a key business partner. “When you look at all of the components that Black Diamond provides – multi-custody, data aggregation, comprehensive reporting functionality –it became very clear that Black Diamond was the partner we were looking for.”
Looking down the road, Cumello is focused on the continued growth of the firm, in terms of establishing additional locations and bringing on new advisors along with a renewed emphasis of organic growth.
In order to do that, Cumello acknowledges that keeping up with technology is an ongoing challenge. “The future is going to be everything mobile-oriented, maybe not for today’s clients, but for their children and grandchildren. Staying on top of these changes is much better when you have a partner who continues to innovate for you. As we grow, I know that Black Diamond has that strategic flank covered for us.”
To learn more about Essex Financial, check out their website at Essex.Financial.