The Path From CPA Firm to Comprehensive Wealth Management: 1st Global BMS Business Model

Oct 21st 2011
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 By 1st Global

Peter W. Adams, champion partner of HPG Financial Services, LLC, an accounting firm in Raleigh N.C., shares his firm’s progression into providing wealth management services to his clients and his thought processes behind it.


1. What was the single most important reason you decided to begin offering wealth management services to your tax clients?

As CPAs, we were already giving business advice to our clients. We viewed providing wealth management as a natural expansion of this. Instead of sending them down the street to get life insurance, for example, we could provide what they needed, ensure they were treated correctly and implement the actions needed. Adding wealth management to our practice just made sense. So, when North Carolina was able to do this in 1999, we got in.

2. What obstacles did you need to overcome to become a successful financial planner?

Understandably, most partners wanted to see how it worked before buying in. They wanted to protect their clients from anything negative. Plus, CPAs are used to a certain amount of independence in our business and were uncomfortable losing some of that by providing these new services. It took awhile to overcome. But, in the long run, we showed it was the right thing for us and our clients.

3. Many CPAs have a sales/marketing aversion. How did you and your partners overcome this aversion?

Our firm was already doing sales/marketing to prospective clients. So, that wasn’t new to us. What was new was marketing new business to existing clients. We wanted to make sure any marketing to them was done with sensitivity and integrity. At first, everyone wanted to critique each mailing. But that got complicated. We eventually earned everyone’s trust by doing things right from the beginning.

4.     How did hiring a dedicated professional financial advisor change your wealth management offering?

When we decided to provide wealth management services, we looked at three ways of doing it:

  • Get a license and learn to do it ourselves
  • Get a license and sign agreements with financial pros to do it for us
  • Get a dedicated financial advisor to add to our firm who knows the business best instead of CPAs trying to learn this

We chose the latter. It was really the only way that made since to us. Plus, if for some reason, the advisor didn’t work out with our clients, we could always get another advisor – not have our clients leave our “family” over it. Our 1st Global Advisor Steven Katzenstein has worked out great from the beginning for our firm and our clients. Now, folks ask what we’ll do if he ever leaves us!

5. Many CPAs obtain their securities licenses and “go it on their own” as financial planners. What are your thoughts on this approach?

I’d never pass judgment on our peers who do this; we just didn’t want to go that route. Being a CPA is already a full-time job. 

6. How has adding wealth management to your offering changed your succession plans?

Actually, it’s given our partners two revenue streams: income from being CPA and income from offering wealth management services. That means a bigger retirement check and we’re all happy with that.

7. What advice would you offer a CPA firm that is considering offering wealth management services to its top clients?

We are very glad we chose to do this. Not only does it allow us to service our clients better, but we are able to do so through the best experienced professionals in the field.

8. You chose 1st Global to be your business partner. Why?

Before entering into this, we checked out the companies providing this service. There were only a few, and even fewer who tailored it to accounting firms. We chose 1st Global for two reasons:

  1. It deals primarily with accounting firms, so it knows our business and holds the same mind set (conservative product offerings).
  2. It provides thorough and ongoing training for its broker/dealers.

These things set 1st Global apart and have made our experience with them completely positive.

For more information about offering wealth management services as a CPA firm and how strategic business partnerships with accomplished partners like Peter W. Adams can impact your growth plans, contact 1st Global at (800) 959-8461 or [email protected].

This article and its content have been provided by 1st Global. With more than 500 firms affiliated with 1st Global, it is one of the largest wealth management services partners for the tax, accounting and legal professions. 1st Global delivers the required capabilities essential for wealth management excellence including progressive ongoing education, which places the firm in a unique position to offer wealth management knowledge.
1st Global was founded by CPAs on the belief that accounting, tax and estate planning firms are uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive wealth management services to their clients. Each affiliated firm is provided with education, technology, business-building framework and client solutions that make these firms leaders in their professions through dedicated professional client relationships built around wealth management.
1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 8150 N. Central Expressway, Suite 500 in Dallas, Texas,
75206, (214) 265-1201. Additional information about 1st Global is available via the Internet at

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