Registered Rep: You moved to Raymond James from Merrill Lynch about three years ago. What was the most difficult part of that move?
Drew Bilotta: The most difficult part of the move was surprising my clients - many did not understand the fact that disclosure beforehand was not an option.
RR: Are there any products you believe have no room in the portfolios of your clients?
DB: I do not like assets that are less than marketable or those that have too many bells and whistles. Keeping it simple and straightforward provides clients with a level of comfort and understanding that is worth far more than the potential return/risk that may be attained using something more esoteric.
RR: How did you get your first client?
DB: My initial clients were all developed from a disciplined approach to cold calling - the call was used to determine interest in a full service relationship. Of course, with cold calling, the law of large numbers was always in play. One's skill in listening only improved the odds of conducting a meaningful conversation.
RR: You do a significant amount of philanthropic work. Tell us about your favorite cause.
DB: A favorite cause cannot be singled out, but the idea of exercising both gratitude and stewardship has exposed me to some wonderful opportunities to share in the journey of some remarkable people and their respective projects — an orphanage in Honduras, a seniors services enterprise, children's religious and adult spiritual counseling to name a few.
RR: What's the worst trait a client can have? And the best?
DB: A client who is not willing to establish expectations and enact with discipline or one who constantly changes in accord with the prevailing thought of the day. The best is a client who is reasonable and clearly understands the process and your corresponding value.
RR: What's your firm's investment philosophy?
DB: For those with enough capital, excess risk will probably not produce a return that will impact their overall financial situation whereas for those with limited capital, excess risk can erode capital to a very significant degree. Therefore, be prudent, methodical and, disciplined while remaining consistent to a comprehensive personal financial plan.
RR: Favorite place for business lunch?
DB: The client's home.
RR: What's one area of financial planning you plan to learn more about?
DB: Tax law, since it is always under scrutiny and change.