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VOL. 127 | NO. 99 | Monday, May 21, 2012

Meeting Client Needs Top Priority for McManus Reilly


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The laws surrounding estate planning and employee benefit and health care packages are complex and ever-changing.

Ed Brucker, from left, Mike Reilly and Mike McManus form McManus Reilly Financial. The company offers financial services that include estate planning, executive benefits and wealth management. 

(Photo: Lance Murphey)

With the upcoming presidential election and the potential changes to inheritance tax, among other issues, the financial planning industry is being kept on its toes more than ever.

But these aren’t necessarily obstacles, as Mike McManus of McManus Reilly Financial looks at it.

He said he sees the challenges ahead as an “opportunity.”

“We have some great clients and we enjoy working with the clients that we have, and that’s what gets me up and gets me going in the morning are the people I work with and my associates here,” McManus said.

The firm began in 2004 by McManus and Mike Reilly who worked side-by-side prior for Executive Financial Services. As partners with three employees, the boutique firm now manages close to $75 million in assets, and works closely with corporate clients from the worlds of medicine, legal, retail and manufacturing.

“We don’t concentrate in just one industry, we try to diversify our clients,” McManus said. “We’ve always operated on a needs-basis … make sure that we cover the needs that the client is interested in covering, and then making sure that, if we have a fit for that particular financial problem that we solve it with our solution, or we outsource it to somebody where we can help that client. I find that whenever you deal on needs-basis that you do the right thing by the client.”

This is a lesson gleaned from a career spanning 40 years for McManus and 17 for Reilly. Their business is directly affected by that of their clients during economic downturns, but “we are fortunate to have good clients and ones that we enjoy working with and it’s been fun to help them grow both their individual wealth as well as their corporate benefit plans, ” McManus said.

A core business for the firm is an executive benefit plan where, McManus said, “ we identify key people in businesses and we work out various compensation plans for those individuals.”

It’s a way to retain and reward a key person in an organization, allowing for a feeling of security for both employer and employee.

The age disparity between McManus and Reilly is by design, and something they counsel their clients on a clear line of succession in business. The two men also have different skill sets that are brought to the table – McManus in the employer marketplace, and Reilly in investment and wealth management.

“It’s a good mix,” Reilly said.

Despite their divergent focus, the greatest reward for each is in working with estate planning and the upheaval that comes with major life events such as death of a spouse, divorce, a birth, wedding or finding oneself out of work.

“We’re trained to understand the numbers and the analysis of it, but one of the things we have to work on is the human side of the business, and that just comes with experience,” Reilly said. “When a spouse loses a loved one or a client loses an elderly parent … It is every bit an emotional rollercoaster as it is a financial rollercoaster. Being there to help facilitate and quarterback the process, to work with the attorney or the CPA in that time of need is very rewarding.”

The market may be beyond their control, but how they deal with clients and the family members of clients is where they find pride in the work that they do.

McManus readily admits that, while his firm cannot be “all things to all people,” they consider themselves consultants and advisers instead of salesmen, and will confer with other professionals as needed to ensure the best for their clients as the landscape changes.

“Whether we’re in a bear market or a bull market, a recession or economic prosperity, these life events are always going to occur, that’s why I feel like there’s always a need for what we do,” Reilly said. “It’s not transaction-based, it’s planning and working with people.”

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