“Going Home Again…”  

Issue 62

By:  Ron Brounes  

April 2003


It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times; It was a Time for Change. 


The Best of Times:  In October 2001, I took advantage of a tremendous opportunity to join a highly successful financial planning practice at American Express Financial Advisors.  I have spent the past year and a half enhancing the marketing efforts of the practice and serving in a financial advisor capacity for new clients.  These roles have been incredibly rewarding and I now have a far more substantial understanding of the importance of comprehensive financial planning and an even greater respect for Scott Tiras and Darrell Pennington, two consummate professionals in the field. Their collective knowledge of the financial planning process and the investment markets is second to none; their relationships with their clients extend well beyond that of a traditional financial advisor.  Particularly in these challenging times, they serve as advisor, educator, counselor, and friend.  I am pleased to have had the opportunity to learn from them, to work along side of them, to help them grow their practice.  I am pleased to have been their partner, but mainly I am pleased to be their client.  (Plus, they always brought in great lunches on Fridays.) 


The Worst of Times:  Needless to say, the past few years have represented very challenging times for investors (and financial professionals).  The markets have plummeted to levels far below most expectations.  Uncertainties within the economy and the global geo-political situations have prompted even greater fears among the investor community.  This environment  has made it quite difficult to prospect; investors maintain a “wait and see” (or simply a “sell now”) attitude as the uncertainties persist.  Marketing approaches, prospecting tools, and budgetary matters are re-evaluated; compliance issues become even greater priorities whenever bearish times exist.  Despite the challenges, the practice has thrived; clients remain confident in the skills and expertise of these advisors and the outlook for the future looks very promising.   


A Time for Change:  As roles change within the practice to accommodate the times, the most effective (and desirable) way for me to enhance the marketing efforts is from an outsourced capacity as before.   Therefore, I have decided to hang up the suits (that don’t fit anymore), pull out that “business casual” wear (that is now out of style), walk away from those Friday lunches (which contributed to the tight suits) and re-establish Brounes & Associates, retaining this American Express practice as one of my clients.  I will also have the opportunity to pursue other ventures with old and new clients, something I have missed over the past 18 months. 




For five years, Brounes & Associates provided marketing, communications consulting, and strategic planning services, primarily targeting the financial services and legal communities.  Once again, those services (and those markets) will remain its focus.  I am older (not old) and wiser and have benefited greatly from my time at American Express.  Bear in mind, my background includes a CPA designation, public accounting experience, an MBA with an emphasis in investment finance, and 10+ years in the financial services industry.


Marketing and Investors Relations:  As before, “my associates” and I will provide investor relations services to financial clients and publicly traded companies.  I will be working with hedge funds, money managers, mutual fund companies, financial planners, private equity firms, securities attorneys, and public corporations.  Among other services, I will help them develop and compose shareholder correspondences (annual reports) and other economic and investment performance pieces and presentations that are distributed to their investors. I will also aid legal and business clients in their media relations efforts by monitoring industry trends to generate ideas for timely topics for industry trade periodicals.  With my strong business background, I will continue to ghostwrite technical articles, newsletters, and speeches for a variety of audiences. 


Consulting and Strategic Planning:  As before, “my associates” and I will structure business plans and proposals that are developed and presented for both capital funding and business marketing purposes.  I also will generate analytical presentations to depict financial performance (for financial services firms) or other cost/benefit analyses that businesses may need to help in their day-to-day operations or to make crucial decisions that impact future operations.  Additionally, I am available to consult on marketing and messaging opportunities to promote the firm, its management and employees through collateral pieces, websites, networking alliances with other related professionals, speaking engagements, or other strategies.  Finally, I will assist in the design of corporate educational workshops for clients on topics that include sales training, employee benefits, financial considerations, and media relations; I can also provide presentation skills training and videotaping when clients have meetings or other audiences to prepare for.


Government Affairs:  As an offshoot to my services offered to law firms, Brounes & Associates will maintain a government affairs component.  I will assist candidates for political offices in developing campaign strategies and also work with organizations (non-profits) that educate  elected and appointed officials about issues of importance to their communities.  These projects include message development, position papers on timely issues, speeches and presentation skills training, and talking (lobby) points to be delivered to the powers-that-be.    




As with any new business (or newly established old business), my primary job these days is to reconnect with past clients and prospect new ones.  Therefore, in addition to traditional office visits, I am scheduling meetings over breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee breaks, evening cocktails, sporting events and other settings with anyone and everyone who wishes to discuss our respective businesses and potential opportunities (in return for a meal, a drink, a cup of joe).  Over the past few weeks, I’ve even driven folks to the airport and helped a friend move furniture in order to bend an ear or two about the services we each offer. 


So if you or your firm are in need of the services as described above; OR you know of others who may be in need of the services as described above; OR you’re frankly uncertain and require additional insight and information about the services as described above; OR you’re simply hungry or thirsty or in dire need of a grande coffee of the day (with room for cream), a ride to the airport or help with moving furniture, let’s get together soon.  I am excited about the opportunity to visit with you and discuss my plans for the “new and improved” Brounes & Associates and, of course, welcome feedback from those trusted few on my newsletter mailing list (which still includes just about anyone I have ever met).  I look forward to chatting with you in the near future and to the prospects of working with you and your firm, whether it be for help needed in “the best of times, the worst of times, or simply, a time for change.”


FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH is a publication of Brounes & Associates focusing on marketing (financial and legal services firms specialty), communications consulting, and strategic planning. Please call Ron Brounes at 713-432-1332 for additional information.  Whoever said “You can’t go home again?”  Brounes & Associates is back and we’re older and wiser than before;  most importantly, these newsletters return in earnest (and on a more timely basis).