In today’s economy, keeping a close eye on finances is more important than ever.With a continued rise in living and business expenses, ensuring your money is properly managed can make or break your company and your retirement.
Fortunately, throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley there are asset management companies and investment advisers equipped with the resources to help manage your wealth.
Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions is Matthew Petrozelli, CEO of a financial advisory firm in Hanover Township, Northampton County.
Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Valley National Financial Advisors been operating in the region and what are its primary services?
Matthew Petrozelli: Valley National Financial Advisors has been locally owned and independently operated in the Lehigh Valley since 1985. We focus on helping individuals and families with their long-term financial planning. What makes our approach unique is that we provide a platform of integrated services to assist with their wealth management, tax preparation, insurance and estate planning, all in one location under one advisory team.
LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that Valley National Financial Advisors has encountered throughout its years in business?
Petrozelli: Updates to tax legislation, the introduction of new products and services, availability of new technologies–these are all examples of changes we have embraced throughout the years. It is a constant challenge and opportunity to maintain a clear and complete view of our clients’ options when it comes to financial choices.
For every business and particularly in our industry, succession planning is a big challenge. Last year, our founder took important steps to secure the longevity of Valley National by passing operational control to me and setting up an ownership structure that will protect what he has built well past his tenure with us. It is a testament to his savvy as a financial advisor that he implemented this succession plan well before he intends to leave his work as a part of our team. He and our other senior advisers will continue to be focused around developing our next generation of advisory professionals to carry on his mission.
LVB: What credentials and licenses have to be obtained to become an investment adviser representative, Certified Financial Planner or asset manager?
Petrozelli: Many of our advisers, tax professionals, and investment managers hold CFPs (certified financial planner), CPAs (certified public accountant), CIMAs (certified investment management analyst), and CFAs (chartered financial analyst). These designations take years of study and rigorous testing to obtain and require annual education requirements to ensure that our advisers are keeping up with industry changes and requirements.
LVB: How does Valley National Financial Advisors directly stimulate the local economy? How does it get involved with the local community?
Petrozelli: Helping our clients in this region retain, grow and pass on their wealth helps naturally stimulate the local economy. That said, we live and work alongside our clients in this community, so it is important to us that we help maintain a strong Lehigh Valley. All our employees are involved in organizations and initiatives that benefit our shared community through our Valley National Financial Advisors-sponsored events and projects, individual service on boards and committees, and company-paid volunteer hours to focus on personally relevant activities.
As a group we participate in the annual volunteer challenge to create a sustainable project for a nonprofit organization working with the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley. We won an award for our very first project and last year we were honored with a Spirit of Volunteerism award for our team’s contributions to the community.
Our firm also has an ongoing relationship with WDIY 88.1 FM where our senior vice president, Laurie Siebert, hosts a public affairs radio program called “Your Financial Choices” on Wednesday nights each week. The purpose of the show is to educate and inspire people to make informed financial decisions. It is a very fulfilling way for our team to reach out to more people in our community. In fact, this week kicks off the fall pledge drive during which our firm has committed (as we did last year) to contribute a direct monetary donation to Second Harvest Food Bank for 21 meals every time a listener donates to support the public radio station.
LVB: What does the future look like for Valley National Financial Advisors? Does it have plans for growth?
Petrozelli: Per our founder’s vision, Valley National will continue to be locally owned and operated for generations to come. This ensures our clients’ interest and their generational planning will remain intact as we continue to embrace new culture, technologies and employees.
Our plan is to continue to grow in both the Lehigh Valley and possibly new markets in the surrounding areas. We want to continue to be a champion for our clients, a community supporter and an example of industry best practices. Of course, we also plan to establish new client relationships with individuals and families who value and will benefit from our unique approach.