Exceptional Advisor Week - Profiles in Providing Meaningful Guidance: From Baseball Fields to Financial Advice

The Exceptional Advisor™ initiative helps advisors differentiate themselves from other professionals in a global and highly competitive marketplace. By concentrating on areas identified through research as key attributes valued by clients, advisors can better demonstrate the advanced knowledge they have earned through their certifications. The knowledge and skills developed during the certification process allow advisors to stand out and provide exceptional service across a wide range of clients. The designations also provide a foundation for individuals to tackle even the most complex investor challenges.

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The Investor Research (2020) conducted by Absolute Engagement defined “Exceptional Advisors” as those advisors who:

      • Understand clients’ needs and values
      • Provide meaningful guidance
      • Demonstrate advanced knowledge
      • Provide a personalized approach
      • Act ethically
      • Provide exceptional service

Exceptional Advisor Week, April 26- May 2, 2021, explores each one of these tenets. Visit the Exceptional Advisor Week webpage to learn more. Today’s blog explores Providing Meaningful Guidance.

Earlier this year, brothers Brandon Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CIPM, and Erik Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CKA®, spoke with the Institute on how they provide meaningful guidance to their clients.

Profiles in Providing Meaningful Guidance: From Baseball Fields to Financial Advice

As former professional athletes, Brandon Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CIPM, and Erik Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CKA®, are no strangers to working hard as a team. Their experiences as professional baseball players inspired and informed their decision to build a wealth management firm for athletes that broke the mold of a traditional financial advice model by providing the meaningful financial advice that athletes and their families actually need.

“The world does not need another ex-professional athlete selling financial advice; there are tons of ex-athletes selling life insurance and trying to give financial advice. But we saw the gap—former athletes who understand the experience and have the financial expertise and ability to guide athletes through their [sports] careers and lives after. The ability to manage and maintain their wealth for the long-term, to help them reach their financial goals, that is what we built and provide through Athlete Wealth Management (AWM Capital) LLC.”

Brandon Averill Headshot

Brandon and Erik witnessed firsthand the startling statistics—athletes are four times more likely to file bankruptcy, twice as likely to be divorced, and frequently end up squandering millions due to fraud, high fees, and unqualified advice. The brothers agree, there is no shortage of horror stories of athletes making mistakes with their money. From blowing through everything before they retire to getting injured and not having adequate protection, to getting misled by unqualified advisors.

“I experienced this on a small scale,” explained Erik. “In 2005, I signed a professionalErik_600 contract, which included a small signing bonus, but I trusted a kind of a regular stockbroker who had worked with other professional athletes but did not have any advanced designations or expertise. I watched him trade left and right, investing me in a bunch of individual financial services stocks, and I lost everything that I had based on his really bad financial advice.”

“For us, we’re really on a mission to change the culture of how athletes use their wealth. This is our passion and why we are pursuing this as a life calling,” continued Erik. “Whether it is the professional athlete or a founder who had a big exit – we have all heard the stats around lottery winners – when your wealth comes as a byproduct of doing something that really isn’t driven from business acumen you don’t necessarily have the skill-sets and the habits to be able to make wise financial decisions.”

The brothers understand that the type of advice and guidance needed by athletes, founders, or just young individuals who come into a significant amount of money, is advanced. They explained that these clients need deep expertise in tax planning and estate planning, but they also need day-to-day advice.

“As former professional athletes, we leveraged what we know about what it takes to become elite and channeled that into building our skills, knowledge, and expertise as wealth advisors,” said Brandon. This is why they pursued the CPWA® certification as an advanced designation.

“[The CPWA® certification] is worth its weight in gold, it’s definitely been the best program that either one of us has ever gone through from a continuing education and expertise standpoint. We quickly fell in love with the program’s content and the people involved in teaching the course. After completing the course, we saw immediate benefits from the program,” said Erik. “The most significant benefits being around estate planning. The advanced estate planning techniques that we learned through the CPWA® process helped us in implementation.”

“The second most notable thing apart from estate planning was the family governance pieces of what we do,” added Brandon. “The training through the [CPWA®] program provided quite a few tools to have certain conversations with clients.”

Brandon and Erik said that one of the CPWA program fundamentals was not only building strategies for how they help their clients, but they have also developed a system for helping to educate their client’s children in building skills on daily money management. This holistic and long-term view of wealth is one of the cornerstones of their firm.

Erik explained, “I think that what really drove Brandon and me in our pursuit is the understanding that money is just a tool. It is a means, not the end, and what we are really doing is helping families and individuals clarify what their priories are. Then Brandon and I look at how we can align their assets, both financial assets and their human capital.”

To us, here at the Institute, this is the definition of Providing Meaningful Guidance. Thank you to Brandon & Erik Averill.

Brandon Averill Headshot

Brandon Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CIPM

Brandon is the Managing Partner at AWM Capital. In 2016, Brandon was named by Investment News as one of the Top 40 Financial Advisers under age 40. Brandon loves the impact that he can have on the lives of the clients that he works with and supports them in their growth, whether that’s as an athlete or in building a company. Before AWM, he was a professional athlete by way of UCLA.

Erik_600Erik Averill, CFP®, CPWA®, CKA®

Erik Averill is the co-founder of AWM Capital. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) Professional and a Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®). Prior to AWM, Erik was a professional baseball player. He is the co-author of “PAID: How To Maximize Your Signing Bonus, Simplify The Money Game and Secure Your Future.” and is the host of the Athlete CEO podcast.

Click here for more information on Athlete Wealth Management (AWM Capital) LLC. To hear more from Brandon & Erik check out their website to read their blog or subscribe to their podcast series, AWM Insights and Athlete CEO


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