Younger advisors are generally more tech-savvy. But Christopher Purdue finds that “old school” techniques, like making house calls and answering his own phone, work best. “I’m sure there are a lot of advantages to using certain technologies, but the face-to-face approach has been successful and I believe it will continue to be. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter,” he says, although he does have a profile on LinkedIn.
The 36-year-old grew up in the business, graduating from Villanova University with the goal of joining an advisory team with his father William. “I grew up in a house where business magazines were always lying around and the market ticker was on the TV,” he says, noting that he discovered at a young age he liked the business and the idea of building relationships with clients.
“When I was 21 and I started, I had no credibility besides having a father who had built a successful business behind me,” Purdue says. Instead of trying to recruit clients immediately, he started out sitting in on client meetings and just listening.
“I said very little. I was fortunate enough that I didn’t have to give a lot of investment advice in the first five years,” he adds. It’s very difficult to start in the business without that team that can teach you the skills, he says. “A few years in, I realized that clients were starting to call and ask for me instead of my father.”
And the most important skill he learned from his father was to focus on the clients. “It’s all about service,” he notes. That means Purdue and his father, who now works part-time, pick up their own phones and make house calls. About half of his clients prefer to come into the office, while the other half like the convenience of having Purdue come to them. Most are in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, although a few are out of state and stay in contact with regular phone calls.
“Nothing is pushed off to assistants. We do a lot of the things that most advisors don’t,” Purdue says. And for him, that means keeping it old school.