The new CAPTRUST Wilmington heightens the client experience
By JUDY ROYAL » Photos by KELLY STARBUCK PHOTOGRAPHY
It’s only been a few months since Fountain Financial Associates joined forces with CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, but the merger is already transforming the client experience.
“We have been in business as an independent fiduciary for 21 years,” said Vinton Fountain, president and founder of Fountain Financial Associates, established in 1998 and now known as CAPTRUST Wilmington. “As we looked forward in this industry in terms of how people are going to access advice, it was apparent to me that we wanted to innovate. We decided to join forces with a company that shared our values and gave us continuity and clarity for the future of wealth management advice. Our team and how we do business remain intact exactly as before the merger. We just have a larger partner that can help us with access
“This merger allows our team of professionals increased resources for technology investment, compliance oversight, and maintaining most of the non-client daily responsibilities,” he added. “Now we have more time for clients and problem solving. Our work is still about helping people make better decisions. Our toolbox is now deeper and our capabilities are enhanced through our partnership with CAPTRUST. When you join a firm like CAPTRUST, you’ve expanded capabilities considerably across the financial resources that are required to do this work.”
Fountain’s team of 10 employees, including five advisors, joined CAPTRUST’s wealth management business in February, adding $654 million in assets under management. This is the fourth location for CAPTRUST in North Carolina, including the firm’s headquarters in Raleigh, as well as offices in Greensboro and Charlotte. Founded in 1997, CAPTRUST is an independent registered investment advisor with more than 700 employees at 43 locations nationwide and $390 billion in client assets under advisement.
“There are many important characteristics that we at CAPTRUST look for when considering having a new firm join our team,” said CAPTRUST President Ben Goldstein. “Among them is having the strong conviction to act as a fiduciary and put the needs of their clients and the community first. These two traits have been a core part of Fountain Financial Associates since the very beginning. We are pleased to be able to expand our presence within North Carolina to even more communities and look forward to the great work we will be able to achieve together.”
As a fiduciary, CAPTRUST offers clients independent, transparent advice that is not based on product sales and commissions.
“When you’re a fiduciary, you have alignment with the client,” Fountain said. “You are paid and rewarded based upon the client achieving their individual goals. Fee transparency is important for the relationship. Clients understand and see what they are paying for the advice. We aren’t going to sacrifice that trusting relationship for the sale of proprietary products or conflicts that exist in the Wall Street structure.”
As a majority employee-owned firm, CAPTRUST provides investment advisory services to retirement plan fiduciaries, endowments, and foundations, and comprehensive wealth planning services to executives and high-net-worth individuals. “These services have always been an important part of planning for the future, but they have taken on more significance in recent times,”
“People need help,” he said. “It’s a complicated world, particularly today. Think about this year and what’s happening. If you’ve developed some complexity in your financial life, you probably need a strategic coach, someone who can build some clarity for you as to what the future should look like, who can also help you implement that and monitor it to make sure it is working.”
And speaking of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for some clients to redirect attention to their quality of life and finally act on financial planning solutions.
“I think the dialogue changes,” Fountain said. “We are in the business of offering advice and hopefully wisdom for clients. That’s the ultimate deliverable. I think what changes post-COVID is the nature of the dialogue, and it becomes more human and less about the day-to-day noise that might be a part of financial markets. People are probably more motivated to make decisions they knew they needed to make but probably were avoiding it.”
Gayle Van Velsor is among the 400 clients CAPTRUST Wilmington serves. She used the firm’s services to help guide decisions for her future.
“I inherited the saving gene from my father and was looking for ways to invest as I prepared for retirement,” she said. “I had earned deferred executive bonuses and wanted to make good choices about my pension savings plan. I had known Vinton from his previous banking career, and he responded promptly to help me make investments for a secure retirement.”
CAPTRUST Wilmington, 910-256-8882, captrust.com/locations/wilmington-nc