How Family and Small Town Values Drive Financial Success
Joseph P. Biondo is CIO and CEO of Biondo Investment Advisors, a comprehensive financial services firm specializing in proprietary asset management that he founded alongside his father in 2004. Based in Milford, Pennsylvania, with a satellite office in Sparta, NJ, the firm manages over $800 million in client assets and provides holistic financial planning, wealth management and thoughtful financial advice.
Russ Alan Prince: What sets Biondo Investment Advisors apart from the competition in the industry?
Joseph Biondo: I think one of the biggest differentiators is our approach to investments. Many advisors these days focus primarily on asset and content gathering to outsource investment management to mutual fund companies, passive ETFs, or another entity. We’re not interested in the latest Wall Street thinking or this year’s hottest mutual fund. We conduct our own in-house research on individual stocks and bonds and get to know companies and their management before buying.
We support our ideas with our own money. We invest alongside our clients and it’s something that really touches people. They like to know that we have a vested interest in the decisions and advice we provide.
My father’s founding philosophy was, “I’m smart enough to identify businesses I want to own for my clients and myself. I’m not going to trade them; I will buy them and keep them for the long term. That’s why we get our hands dirty doing old-fashioned research. We take the time to meet with the management of the companies that interest us. We break down their track records and attend industry conferences to get more insights. We have made considerable efforts to understand individual businesses before making the decision to add them to client portfolios. Our ultimate goal is to change people’s lives for the better.
Prince: What’s the secret to building a successful financial practice so far outside of one of the major metropolitan areas?
Biondo: We like to say that we combine small town and working class values with the sophistication and expertise of Wall Street. Biondo Investment Advisors proves that you can build a substantial advisory business in just about any market if you do it the right way. In our case, I think it comes down to two things: reputation and community engagement.
Obviously, it takes time to build a reputation. Our practice has its roots in the practice my father started in Port Jervis, NY. If you do the right thing for people, the password. By the time we launched Biondo Investment Advisors in 2004, he was well known and respected for his investment acumen and dedication to clients. Over the past 18 years, we have continued to build on this reputation.
The second thing that has helped our business thrive is our involvement in the community. Giving back is embedded in our culture. On a yearly basis, apart from what each of us does as individuals, we budget to support local charities and participate in their fundraising, and act as a sponsor for different events.
We are still rooted in the region where we started, along the Delaware River where New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania meet. But as long-time customers spread the word, we also grew beyond that. We have a pocket of clients in Kansas City, New England, Bergen County and Florida because clients have moved and evangelized for us.
Prince: What are the pros and cons of mixing family and business?
Biondo: For me personally, mixing family and business has been a huge advantage. I was literally brought up in this profession. When I was a kid, I would go to my dad’s office after school and get ticker quotes for traders. Although he only graduated from high school, he wanted me to aim higher and gave me great encouragement as I graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
My father created our methodology and our culture, which is very family-oriented. We have developed a way of doing business that works for us and our customers and we are not going to deviate from it. We are all committed to the same set of values and ethics. Everyone who works here is treated like family, just like our customers. And because our interests are totally aligned with theirs, customers tend to feel that way too.
I really don’t think there were a lot of downsides to working with my dad because we agree on what’s most important, which is taking care of others. He has been extremely generous in sharing his knowledge and experience with me and everyone else here. There are five partners in this firm and we make important decisions in committee. If there are different points of view on certain subjects, everyone has the opportunity to intervene, and then we come to a consensus.
Above all, I think that among the advantages of working in a multigenerational company, there is continuity and stability. For clients, in addition to good advice and good investment management, it is comforting to know that they are dealing with real people who really care about them and not with a faceless and impersonal institution.
Russ Alan Prince is Executive Director of Private Wealth Magazine and Chief Content Officer of High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults family offices, quick-and-rich entrepreneurs and selected professionals.
To read more stories, click here