Vicki Martin is one of those BP employees that dodged a couple of bullets, partly with Bland's help. She's been a construction manager with the company for 30 years, and was recently asked to relocate to Rock Springs, Wyo., to work at the Wamsutter facility. After selling a cabin to raise funds for a move, she thought of putting some money into the market. Bland could have made money off that, she says. Yet he told her instead to bank it in her new house and save on interest.

"He gave me guidance and saved me quite a bit of money," she says. "You would assume most financial advisors would tell you to put it in a 401(k)."

She also says that before she worked with Bland, her 401(k) was 100% invested in BP company stock, and he diversified her out of it-just in time to miss the stock's horrible plunge by more than half its value to $27 a share after the Gulf disaster. She and Bland say many other BP employees were not so lucky and continued to have all their retirement money tied up in the floundering stock.

"Several of my co-workers had recommended Jeff to them and now they are sorry they didn't go with him sooner," Martin says. "They realize they are in a position they wouldn't be in now."

Randak says, "Especially today with BP selling all these plants, a lot of these people are [wondering] do they have enough to retire, which means financial planning comes into place. Do they need to go out and get another job? Receiving a severance and a year and a half worth of salary in one fell swoop, what can they do to lessen taxes for the year? If they want to leave, what do they do with their 401(k)?"

As for the ultimate payoff for Trigg when she joined Bland, she tells people, "We've lost some money but we didn't lose a lot." More important, she says is that she is getting calls one a month, as well as letters. Plus Bland makes the drive up to Wyoming from Salt Lake City every two months.

"People out here in Wyoming have just as much a need for investment as people everywhere else," says Randak, "But for some reason the advisors aren't willing to drive out and meet them. I think it's an opportunity to help somebody who needs it but probably isn't getting it."
He adds that it's not just the he and his partner's willingness to fly to Texas and meet with those in the gas fields, but also the clients' sense of trust they get from Bland.

"I've heard him on the phone," Randak says. "He will maintain a friendship with a person if they work with us or not. It can be a brand new person he's met in cold call, but he'll maintain a friendship with them. If they don't' want to do business he won't hang up."

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