Looking Back at 2018

Peter K. HooverJanuary 4, 2019

HFA News

It doesn’t seem possible that another year has flown by. The past 12 months have been interesting ones filled with head-spinning headlines and unprecedented market volatility. As of recently, we see that the current market environment can put composure and discipline to the test. As always, we are here to help you ensure your goals and risk tolerance are in line with your financial plan and be a valuable resource to navigate through the uncertainty.

We sincerely appreciate the continued confidence you have placed in HFA and wanted to share with you a recap of what happened with us in 2018.

We are proud to have celebrated the first year of our partnership with Villanova Financial Services, which is working as a well-oiled machine. HFA is a better, stronger organization than it ever was. The affiliation has proven to be advantageous to clients in numerous ways. One is the addition of a Benefits Department. Clients can now purchase personal and small business insurance through HFA. Additionally, they are able to manage 401K and medical group benefits with assistance from experts we did not have before.

Employee count is up to 23, which includes three new professionals. Connor L. Smith, CFP®, is a valuable addition to our financial planning team. He is a graduate of Indiana University and completed Certified Financial Planner studies at Bryant University in Rhode Island. Matthew J. Buckley has settled into HFA’s investment group as an investment analyst and primary trader. He graduated from West Chester University, and is currently a Level III candidate in the CFA program. John Heacock, CFBS®, who is well known in the financial industry, is now a financial advisor with the firm. As a Certified Family Business Specialist, CFBS, he is providing valuable services for clients.

We also added Lori Monk and Ernie Howard to enhance HFA’s Tax Department. Both tax preparers bring extensive experience to the team. More and more clients are relying on our experts to prepare their returns. The wealth of knowledge and experience we have among our tax department is better than it ever before.  We look forward to the upcoming tax season.

Staff members continued to focus on education as certifications grew and conferences across the country were attended. Thomas Balis earned the gold standard of designations, Chartered Financial Analyst®, a prestigious honor administered by the CFA Institute. Thomas was also promoted to Chief Investment Officer in 2018. Robert Dowd received his CFP designation which was a great success and valuable addition to his skill set within the financial planning team.

Clients, too, enjoyed gaining knowledge through our Lunch & Learn programs and blogs. Lunch & Learn topics included Tax strategies, Investment perspectives, and Medicare. More than 25 employee created blogs highlighted a range of subjects, such as rates and equity values, bond returns, investment advisors versus financial planners, portfolio diversification and more. Eighty people attended an informative seminar in October featuring cyber security, which presented the best practices for cyber hygiene. The information shared was well received and valuable.

HFA also expanded its educational reach beyond our client base. I was invited to write a monthly column for six newspapers, including West Chester’s Daily Local News. Finance in a Nutshell appears the fourth Sunday of each month.

HFA was proud to have been selected to the Financial Times Top 300 Financial Advisors in 2018. The list recognizes top independent RIA firms across the country. In addition, for the third year in a row HFA was ranked as one of the Top Best Financial Advisors in Philadelphia by Advisory HQ. The elite list of only eight firms is independently researched and written. HFA was selected for its transparent, client-centric approach, objectivity and honesty.

Updating technology to improve serve remains high on HFA’s list of criteria. Clients report pleasure with Navigator, the state-of-the-art financial planning software we began using in 2017. Tamarac, our client portal, consistently offers improvements to its organizational system. We continue to invest in the latest, most efficient software to ensure our operations run smoothly.

HFA reached out to the community in a number of ways. Each employee was given a half day off to work at Chester County Food Bank. Some chose the farm, others CCFB headquarters. In addition, through the generosity of staff members, clients, colleagues and associates, we raised $19,685 for the food bank through our annual HFA Funds for Food campaign. Employees were also given an extra half day off to volunteer at a charity of their choice this year. It was equally rewarding to once again adopt a family for the holidays. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed buying presents for our Volunteers of America-selected parents and children.

I believe, however, among our greatest achievements is the privilege to work with our clients. Developing and nurturing personal relationships is more critical than it has ever been. As members of HFA’s extended family, each and every one of you is a treasure we cherish. We look forward to sharing another productive year with you.  Please reach out if you have any questions or would like to talk. We are here to help and want to ensure you are confident in your strategy and financial plan. Happy new year!

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