BY: HARVIE ROE
Harvie Roe, CFP®, is a pioneer in the field of fee-only financial planning, having worked since 1982 as a fiduciary for clients in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He joined the Argent family in mid-2018 when AmeriTrust, where he’s been CEO since 1997, merged with Argent.
What were the circumstances behind AmeriTrust’s founding in 1997?
I’m a co-founder of AmeriTrust along with two other people and the only one who is still active in the company. Before AmeriTrust, I headed the trust departments at a succession of banks in the Tulsa area and went through about four mergers in five years. It just got to the point where we knew we couldn’t serve our customers the way we wanted to. So several of us started AmeriTrust 22 years ago.
What made your merger with Argent such a good fit?
We wanted to be with people who shared our philosophy of how to serve clients. We believe the trust business is very personal and is best served locally. We talked about this a lot during the merger process, and we continue to believe that Argent is serious about giving every client highly personalized service.
How has AmeriTrust changed since it merged with Argent in 2018?
During the time we’ve been under the Argent umbrella, we’ve been serving clients with the same style, the same people, from the same location and with the same phone number. Aside from us learning some new back-office systems, I don’t think our level of contact or speed of response to clients have changed. Where we’re strengthened is that Argent has a lot more services available, and having their institutional knowledge is also a benefit in that we have additional experienced people who can offer their advice on a particular client situation.
Do you have an investment philosophy?
I borrow a portion of my philosophy from the medical profession: “First, do no harm.” We try to make sure our focus is on how to help our clients accomplish their financial goals, and not keeping up with the fancy investment trend of the week. We want to protect the money our clients have and grow their assets along the way. We want to give people peace of mind with the least amount of risk.
Many of our clients are in their 60s or above. By the time people arrive at that transitional period of their lives, financial independence is very important. They want to make sure their bills are being paid and their money is safe. Sometimes that’s part of the job for us — putting the pieces of the financial puzzle together to make sure our clients have peace of mind.
One of the critical failings of the financial services industry is that advisors want to talk about investments, and how they have the “hot investment” that’s going to triple in two years. Very few advisors talk to clients about their lifestyles and whether or not their level of spending is feasible over the long term, based on the resources available to them. Instead of trying to accomplish the unrealistic goal of higher and higher returns, with higher and higher risk, we try to help clients adjust their lifestyles to get control over their spending if they’re living beyond their means.
What continues to inspire you about your job?
In many ways I feel blessed that I get to do something that I enjoy. I’m helping clients accomplish their financial goals and getting to share in their life journey. These are people whom we think a lot of, and hopefully they think a lot of us. It’s not just business.
It’s not uncommon for us to attend our clients’ bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and funerals — we like being included in their inner circle. There’s true friendship there, and it’s based on a foundation of trust that we work to strengthen every day. We’re very conscious of that. The word “trust” can’t be overemphasized. You earn it every single day, and you can lose it in five minutes.