Anne Ward, CFP, has left our firm after three years as Senior Wealth Manager. Of course, we wish her well. I continue to be excited about Laurel Wealth Planning and serving you.
Our boutique firm of seven professionals continues our mission of seeking to know what is important to you and to serve you well, living our values of client care first, honor, fully reliable, and go the extra mile.
We are excited to add value to your situation in multiple ways, including investment management, tax reduction, cash flow/insurance/estate planning advice, etc. Our passion continues to bring meaning to our professional lives: helping our clients live the life they want, building a long-term relationship based on a foundation of trust and confidence.
It is never easy to see staff change and I can’t promise that there will never be change, but I can commit to always taking care of your needs and putting your interests first. Here is a Q&A that may address some of your questions:
Q: Why did Anne make a change?
A: People’s interests can change, and the demands of their personal lives can change. It is important that I not share specifics, but I can say that we wish Anne well.
Q: Laura, how long do you plan to remain in your role?
A: I get much fulfillment from helping clients and seeing our staff grow in their service to you. I feel I make a difference and I am very grateful for that. I also appreciate our strong team that offers me the flexibility for travel, etc. I look out and see myself serving our clients for years to come.
Q: With Anne leaving, is LWP’s continuity impacted?
A: During Anne’s tenure, LWP maintained an agreement with another local wealth management firm to step in and help serve our clients in the event of my death or disability. I have known the financial advisors of this firm for more than 20 years and have high respect for their values, skills, and approach. In fact, all of that is very similar to LWP’s. While I cannot promise that staff won’t change, I can promise continuity of care and service.
Q: With Anne gone, do you and your team have time to continue your attention to me and my situation?
A: The answer is a resounding yes. We have moved from investing time in marketing and growth to taking care of you, our current clients, which is always our top priority. Firm growth is always a second priority. We are fortunate that we have three talented wealth managers – Mallory Kretman, CFP, with more than 12 years’ experience; Jesse Kuusisto CFP, with more than six years’ experience; and myself. We divided Anne’s clients between our three wealth managers based on what we saw as the best advice, service, and style-fit for our clients. We also hired Max Carlos as an Associate Wealth Manager/Investment Analyst. Max works closely with our wealth managers to help with service and advice.
Katie Then, our Manager of Client Service and Operations, has also increased her role significantly. Katie brings 18 years of experience in client advice and service and leads our talented client service professionals, Natalie and Rachel. This team has stepped up impressively in both their current roles and offering further support to our wealth managers in many areas.
As so often happens with staff changes, our team members have taken on more responsibility and have more opportunity. Staff changes are often an opportunity for other staff to grow.
Q: Are you planning to hire?
A: Not immediately, but our management team is considering this, and we will keep you informed as decisions are made.
Q: LWP had some staff turnover in 2022, and now turnover in 2023. Why is that?
A: I’d like to think that every single employee can find a permanent home at LWP, but people change, their interests change, and the firm also changes. It is important that there is flexibility for employees to move in the direction they feel is right for them. That said, LWP has reviewed its compensation and benefits and its employee retention strategies. This type of review is always important, but perhaps more so now with the Minnesota unemployment rate at approximately 1% (as compared to a “normal” of 5%). It is a high priority at LWP to provide an environment in which motivated, client-centered staff can thrive.
Please let me know if you have any questions on this or any topic. I always much enjoy hearing from you.
Laura, the founder of LWP, is a Senior Wealth Manager, Chief Investment Officer and Shareholder. She has a master’s degree in tax and is an excellent listener. While she is a sophisticated financial planner with experience in complex issues, her priority is ensuring a financial plan works for people.