The art of reinvention

Tim Keffer was in his late 40s when he decided to reinvent himself

Tim Keffer was in his late 40s when he decided to reinvent himself – a decision that was sparked by the sale of a software company. As the national director of sales, he owned a portion of the business. When the company was sold, Tim found the opportunity he needed to start a new chapter.

“I had been looking at a number of businesses to buy, and kept vetting them through a good friend of mine, Kevin Doyle, who is now my business partner. At one point, he just asked, ‘Why don’t you consider joining us?’”

But while Tim had always followed the markets and was a discerning investor, he didn’t have any professional experience in finance.

“I had a business administration and marketing degree, and I spent the majority of my career on the sales and marketing side. However, I found that the role of advisor met a lot of my personal needs – I enjoyed teaching and had maintained a lifelong interest in the markets.”

Following Kevin’s suggestion and fueled by his own passion for finance, Tim decided to join the Advisor Mastery Program (AMP) at Raymond James. One of the factors that encouraged him to join the firm was that many of the experienced advisors he knew had transferred there after working in wirehouses.

“It seems that the autonomy and flexibility Raymond James provides with their client-first culture and open architecture allows advisors that have previously been with wirehouses more freedom to do the right thing for their clients. It enables them to provide more personalized service by incorporating the tools, securities and investment options they need for each individual client, as opposed to having a one-size-fits-all mentality.”

After speaking with David Patchen, the senior vice president of PCG Education & Practice Management at Raymond James, and Matt Ransom, the vice president of new financial advisor development, Tim felt confident that AMP would provide him the support he needed to establish himself as an advisor.

“In under three years, I felt like I earned a master’s in finance. From offering me the education to transition into my new role, to giving me the time and support to earn the certifications I needed, AMP was the best training program I’ve ever been in.

“Also, being 25 years older than most of the people in my AMP class, I had a unique set of needs. And what I found was that AMP was very good at addressing those unique needs.”

In addition to benefiting from AMP’s teachings, Tim also earned his Series 7 and 66 securities licenses, his Accredited Asset Management SpecialistSM designation and his Certified Financial PlannerTM certification while in the program.

Once he graduated AMP, Tim began his career as a standalone advisor, working closely with Kevin – a former sub-complex manager at Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney for 25 years – through their team, Griffin Wealth Management in Timonium, Maryland. Tim also worked with Kevin when the latter was in the process of buying a book from a retiring Raymond James advisor, giving Tim unique insight into the succession and acquisition process.

Now a knowledgeable advisor, Tim attributes much of his success to starting his career at Raymond James.

“I’m really grateful for my experience in AMP. The level of investment that Raymond James puts toward developing new, successful advisors is, I would venture to say, unmatched. I know about some wirehouses that give you three months of training and then throw you to the wolves.

“I think what Raymond James has done differently is taken a unique approach to training and looked at it from a long-term perspective. They want to create those new advisors because they’re going to be the future – they’ll be the ones taking over for many of the folks who will retire over the next 10 years or so.”

Aside from recommending AMP to aspiring advisors, Tim also encourages them to view the role of financial advisor not just as a job, but as a career and a mindset.

“It’s something that you need to be passionate about. It’s going to take time to build your book and your credibility. But if you work hard, this can become a wonderfully rewarding career that can allow you to live an exceptional life. You just need to be patient and dedicated.”

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP®(with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.