A Day in the Life of a Financial Advisor: The Planner

By kelly eggers and jeremy greenfield

Christopher Ure believes that balance is key. His clients are his priority until the working day is done -- but once he's home, he's home. He says that his dedication to both his work and home life is something that allows the personal relationships he has with his clients to blossom.

To make it all work, Ure, a financial advisor and senior vice president at UBS Financial Services, makes planning a top priority. He carefully attacks tasks planned for today while planning out tomorrow's work. After 12 years in the business, he's also learned that prioritizing is important, determining the order in which he'll return calls and emails, and in what order he'll prepare for the next day's client meetings.

But once he leaves work, he enjoys a good round of golf, a home-cooked meal he makes with his wife, or listening to hip-hop -- yes, Ure is a self-proclaimed hip-hop enthusiast.

We talked to Ure about his daily transition from work-to-play, as well as how he got into the business, and why he says that above all the things he's learned about managing money, he believes that a wealth of experience is the key to success.

To Do List: 6:30 A.M.

For Ure, the morning begins with multi-tasking. Breakfast happens over the morning's paper; market news is digested with a cup of coffee; CNBC is the background for his morning e-mail. Having reviewed market news from Asia before bed the night before, Ure likes to be ahead of the game before he's out the door.

A portion of his 35-minute commute every morning is spent on the phone with his office. "I typically phone my office and speak with my assistant as well as my business partner to see what issues will need to be managed, if any," Ure said.

Punching in: 8:30 A.M.

He begins by building an agenda based on calls, e-mails, immediate-action investment moves and any other business that needs attending. Then it's time to communicate with clients.

"We commit to return every call or email every day," said Ure. "This is a priority of ours, and our clients appreciate it. I know how important it is to me to have proper communication and awareness, so we aim to provide that level of service to our clients."

Business Lunch: 12:00 P.M.

Ure believes in the working lunch. Whether it's a meeting with a client, prospect, extended network, or a referral source, Ure knows that this time is an effective one for managing his client relationships.

Planning for Tomorrow: 1:30 P.M.

"We will typically schedule client and prospect meetings for the morning, so the afternoons are set aside for preparing for those meetings," Ure said.

After planning for the next day, Ure finishes the items on his morning to-do list -- implementing asset allocation changes, returning any outstanding client requests, and close out any other business that "doesn't fit neatly into a descriptive bucket."

Time for Play: 5:30 P.M.

A family man, Ure closes up shop and heads home to his wife, Kelly, and their five children.

"My family is now, and will always be my first priority," Ure said. "My clients understand that, and I believe they appreciate the level of dedication I have as a husband and father."

Ure shares many of his own values with those of his clients, many of whom have families of their own.

"While I am rarely ever completely detached from work -- at least if you ask my wife -- I feel strongly about the importance of maintaining a healthy balance." Evenings consist of school plays, family dinners, and homework help, which Ure uses as remedial help. "When it's all said and done, I will have gone through each grade level six times!"


FINS: What do you do to unwind at the end of a long day?

Ure: With a long drive home, I like to listen to music. Hard to imagine, I suppose, but I am a hip-hop/rap enthusiast, so this usually gets my mind focused on something other than work. Again, my family is my main priority and I enjoy every minute with them. With five kids, there's not much unwinding, though.

FINS: What do you do to decompress when you have time off?

Ure: I'm a golf nut, so I am never on the golf course enough. Hopefully one day I'll be able to say I golf enough. My wife and I love to cook together. We regularly try new recipes attend cooking classes, have a chef to our house and host dinner parties. We love to travel. We plan several trips throughout the year, both with and without the kids. This gives us something to plan for and look forward to throughout the year.

FINS: What do you like most about being a financial advisor?

Ure: I love the fact that we can have such a significant impact on a family. As a professional, there aren't many others that can say they have such a meaningful impact through various generations, meeting financial goals like retirement, college, weddings, estate planning -- and then it starts all over. We strive to be instrumental.

FINS: What do you most dislike about being a financial advisor?

Ure: In my prior career, I never had to deal with a trust or credibility issue. I despise the fact that my profession has done a poor job with managing its own reputation so that many hard-working, trustworthy advisors have to overcome issues created by others.

FINS: How did you become a financial advisor?

Ure: My step-father was an advisor, so I had an early exposure. I started my career with Ernst & Young in New York City with their investment banking group. I specialized in insurance industry M&A. Tons of exposure to investment portfolios gave me a strong desire to work more directly with investments. From there, I was drawn to the relationship side of the retail business, and that, coupled with the investments made a great fit for me.

I remember it like it was yesterday when I told my partners at E&Y that I was leaving to become a financial advisor. They thought I was crazy leaving a prestigious firm, great salary and benefits, and a solid career path. I can honestly say it's been the best decision of my career. There is no such thing as monotony in this business.

FINS: What advice would you give someone, either just starting their career or midway through their career, who wants to be a FA?

Ure: I would strongly advise against someone coming into this industry as an advisor with no prior experience. There is too much to be gained from experiences either outside this industry or from the inside with a mentor. I think in this day and age, clients want to know their advisor is pretty seasoned. If I were planning a career change midway, I would begin developing a networking plan before I left. And be prepared to work hard and be rejected. This is a tough business, but can be very rewarding to those that can distinguish themselves.

Write to Kelly Eggers and Jeremy Greenfield

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