Advisors With Heart

Advisors With Heart

Registered Rep.'s 32nd annual Altruism Awards.

A sluggish American recovery. Euro debt debacles. Stock markets on pogo sticks. A fuzzy view of what's next. And, of course, apprehensive clients. For financial advisors making their way in the world, a bottle of antacid sometimes seems to be one of those must-have practice management tools, next to a good CRM system and the latest tablet computer. But some advisors have found a trick to rising above the turmoil. This special group is taking a broader view of the world, and their perspective is worth a look. We're telling the stories of 10 of them in the pages that follow.

Yes, it's time for the 32nd annual Advisors With Heart awards, where Registered Rep. selects men and women in the industry whose commitment to charitable causes goes beyond simply writing a check to a worthy organization. Each year the magazine selects nominees with a passion for something larger than themselves. (It was tougher this year, with twice as many nominees as we received a year earlier.) They're people who roll up their sleeves and spend many hours in projects that benefit the world around them.

Many go the extra mile — sometimes literally; this year there was an abundance of advisors who spend time in foreign countries where poverty is widespread and the neighborhoods are not so nice. Edward Jones advisor Jerry Quick, for example, helps the needy in Juarez, Mexico, where drug cartel violence has taken thousands of lives and driven away volunteers. Some feel a strong desire to give back to their own local communities. Isaac Simon of UBS Financial Services drives a van one night each week that provides hot meals for the homeless in New York City; he says the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 led him to reach out more to others.

Indeed, tragedy often plays a part in changing an advisor's view of the world. Merrill Lynch advisor Albert Fox began to campaign for the National Kidney Foundation after his father succumbed to renal failure. Troubled by her own financial missteps and the poor financial decisions that her father had made which then curtailed her mother's life in retirement, Patricia Hinds of Granite Financial launched a free financial advisory program for middle-class families.

Rather than view their charitable work as another item on a life agenda that's already pretty full, these advisors repeatedly talked about the rewards of their work outside the office. “It's life-changing stuff, and it's kind of a great feeling,” says Timothy Cusick of Wells Fargo Advisors, who helps paraplegics in Tijuana. “Sometimes you give money to cancer or other great research, and who knows if you made a difference.”

Quick puts it best, perhaps. “There is more to life out there than work and making money. Nothing's wrong with that, of course, but I get more joy from this,” he says.

Check out their stories:

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