Freedom Capital Management provides financial planning with a flare. The small firm, which prides itself on its in personal service, has a history buff, a magician and a glider pilot among its advisors and each is given the freedom to combine their avocation with their vocation.
Paul Largo, founder and president of Lincroft, N.J.-based Freedom Capital, a veteran of the financial field, having started as a retail broker for Prudential Securities in 1997. He then moved to management in 2000 with UBS, and then worked a couple of years later as a recruiter and branch manager with Royal Alliance Associates Inc., a broker-dealer based in New York City.
But Largo wanted to be independent and have something he could call his own and build on. Having been in management for several years, he no longer had a client base, but in 2008 he struck out on his own, starting from scratch with no clients and no staff, and founded Freedom Capital Management.
Maintaining a relationship with Largo's former employer, FCM offers securities and advisory services through Royal Alliance Associates Inc., a member of FINRA & SIPC. The FCM advisors are independent registered representatives with Royal Alliance Associates.
Largo set out to build a firm that would be based on the business model he believed in-designed to provide the personalized service that investors were not getting from bigger firms. He hired former wirehouse advisors who shared his vision, each of whom had at least five years of experience in the financial industry.
Now, two years later, he has 14 employees, including five CFPs, four support staff, a compliance officer and client services personnel. Freedom Capital has $220 million in assets under management, a number that is growing in the current chaotic market.
The added flare that advisors bring to their 'day job' is their passion for a variety of other types of activities during their off-duty hours. For instance, it is not unusual to see Glenn W. LeBoeuf show up at the office carrying a bust of President Lincoln or a canteen used by a Civil War soldier. A one-time history teacher and avowed history buff, he is an expert in all things Lincoln, as well as the Civil War. An avid re-enactor, he has appeared in major Civil War movies and helped stage the largest Civil War re-enactment ever at Gettysburg in 1998, with 22,000 re-enactors from all over the world participating.
A paid history lecturer in his spare time, LeBoeuf is a senior vice president at Freedom Capital and a chartered retirement planning counselor.
"I kept bumping into Paul at the Dunkin' Donuts, but for years I was comfortable at Smith Barney and I saw no reason to go independent," LeBoeuf remembers. "But then wirehouses started cutting salaries and destroying stock options and I knew that was the tipping point for me. Now I feel more professional here and I am not pressured to spend 95% of my time opening new accounts-I can spend time with my existing clients."
But the real draw is that the advisors are allowed to "think outside the box" when it comes to building community relationships and recruiting new
clients. "Freedom Capital takes the Lincoln presentation to schools or charity events and it is great public relations for us. Freedom Capital will sponsor community events. A lot of people will ask what we do for a living and it gives us an opening to tell them. It opens doors for us," LeBoeuf says.
"Having a passion for something else can help us establish credibility on a different level," he explains. "There is a leap of faith that occurs if someone knows you on an intellectual level, then they assume you might be knowledgeable in financial areas also."
Largo adds, "If Freedom Capital sponsors a historical event, there will be families there and we can approach people as potential clients. I took my 10-year-old son to a re-enactment with Glenn and came home with a new client-I can't think of anything better than that combination."