Financial Advisor Chris Devine Helps People Plan Ahead
Friday, September 28, 2012 • 3:30pm
WESTFIELD, NJ- After over 20 years as a bond trader, Chris Devine is now dedicated to helping people prepare for their future. Devine, who has been with Wells Fargo Advisors in Westfield for three years, is a financial advisor who specializes in investment planning, asset allocation and retirement planning for families and business owners.
While he was extremely successful at trading bonds, he said he enjoys this much more. The interaction with people really makes the job more exciting and personable, Devine said.
In the past, he was the municipal trader for all of Smith Barney in New Jersey. He worked at the high net worth desk and would purchase bonds on behalf of clients. He typically dealt with wealthy people because most people in high tax brackets buy a lot of bonds, but there was very little face time between him and his clients.
“Bonds are very unique in that a lot of financial advisors don’t know bonds, they know equity,” Devine said.
The switch from bonds to planning didn’t come as a surprise, he said. Devine told TheAlternativePress.com he had been thinking about changing fields for a while and numerous Smith Barney teams kept asking him to join. Furthermore, at the time he was commuting from Scotch Plains to Manhattan and with the recent birth of his son, every day was filled with stress. Therefore, joining Wells Fargo was quite easy, he said.
His new job has different challenges than his previous one, he said. Because it is about catering to the clients’ needs, it’s a seven day a week commitment where he often meets on weeknights and even weekends.
“The best part of the job is getting to meet and getting to know my clients,” Devine said.
Devine said he makes a concerted effort to get involved in his clients' lives. He gets to know their hobbies and participates in activities with them like golf and charity events. He meets with his clients quarterly to discuss their financial planning and also meets with each client once a year and neither of them is allowed to talk about work at that meeting.
With smartphones, tablets and countless business television channels spewing information, he constantly has to reassure his clients that they are okay.
“The biggest change is trying to work through the fears they have out there in the marketplace,” he said.
The resources and knowledgeable staff at Wells Fargo really contribute to his success, he said. In the past three years, the majority of his clients have been through referrals and each one is treated the same. They are first sent a welcome kit, which talks about Devine and his practice. He then calls them to set up a meeting where they interview each other and see if they are the right fit for a working relationship. If Devine doesn’t feel he can help them, they go their separate ways, because really he wants to assist people, not waste their time, he said.
One question he asks everyone is when do they plan to retire. However, many people have no idea, he said. So, along with their financial planning, he assists them with figuring out when they can afford to retire. As a member of the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce, he tries to find local services that could be useful to his clients. Ultimately, clients want value and that’s the most important thing in the relationship, he stressed.
“I try to make sure I have a rolodex of resources that can help them,” he said.
Devine has three beliefs that have led him to where he is today: commitment, integrity, and professionalism.
“As a result my clients enjoy excellent service, a fair price, frequent contact and my personal accountability,” Devine said.