MANSFIELD ─ People tend to think financial advisor firms only serve those who are super-rich.
But in Pinnacle Wealth Planning Services’ case, it works with clients with different amounts of assets. That is how the company grows over the years.
The Mansfield-based business recently made the “Top 10 Fastest-Growing Financial Advisor Firms” in the U.S., according to SmartAsset, a company providing financial resources and personalized tools online.
Based on SmartAsset’s data, Pinnacle managed $596 million of total client’s assets in 2017. Jennifer Henderson, Pinnacle’s chief operating officer and chief compliance officer, said that number grew to $1.5 billion by the end of 2020.
Pinnacle has won numerous recognitions in past years, including being named one of the “13 Best Financial Advisors and Wealth Management Firms in Ohio” in AdvisoryHQ News’ 2020-2021 rankings.
Pinnacle was founded by Henderson’s father and brother, William and Keith Heichel, in 1998. The firm, providing financial planning and investment advice, now serves 731 clients in 34 states through its four locations in Ohio and Florida.
Henderson attributed the company’s success in recent years to taking on a group of new clients in 2019 and the business’ regular growth. She said Pinnacle two years ago started to work with several small business owners whose assets were worth $600 million in total, significantly increasing the assets under the company’s management.
Henderson said Pinnacle has a high referral rate from current clients and multiple certified public accountant firms that it partners with. Each year, the company retains over 95 percent of its client base. It also generated an “Insight Program” for current clients’ second or third generation family members.
The Insight Program is more of educational purpose, Henderson said. It aims at educating people in their 20s or early 30s to deal with their finance.
Keith Heichel, Pinnacle’s president and chief executive officer, said the company serves clients with various asset amounts. Typically, a firm its size only works with people with $3 to $5 million in investment assets. But Pinnacle broadens the scope down to $250,000 and up to someone with more than $100 million.
Heichel said the company makes its service more flexible because it partners with many CPA firms, which have all kinds of clients. He also said Pinnacle’s Compass, Lifetime, Enhanced and Comprehensive Wealth Management Programs are designed for different levels of clients.
The firm has helped young couples grow financially over the years, Henderson said. It also helped clients plan their children’s college funding and all kinds of needs.
“We're not too big for that. We want to help anybody get to where they want to be,” she said.
In a pandemic year. Heichel said Pinnacle took several proactive procedures at the beginning, including sending out weekly emails with an update on the stock market and the company’s analysis of it.
The information helped the clients stay calm when a downturn hit that saw the market drop 35 percent within a month.
“We didn't really get calls from clients like we normally would. If you go back to 2008 and 2009 when the market really went down, clients were calling all the time,” Heichel said. “We never really got calls from clients (this time) because they were getting what they needed from those weekly emails.”
As a long-time business in Richland County, Pinnacle has given back to the community by hosting Christmas Carnival through United Way. Henderson said since 2008, the event has served about 400 children annually with dozens of games, meals, and pictures with Santa Claus
She said Pinnacle used to send clients chocolates during Christmas time until they suggest the company use the money for something else. Then the idea of a Christmas Carnival came along. Many clients donate to it and volunteer at the event now.
“Instead of us sending chocolates out, they’re now sending money in for this event,” Henderson said.
Even when the activity was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, some clients called Pinnacle and asked if they could do something about it. Henderson said she is looking forward to resuming the event this year.