Greg Heller is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles-based HCR Wealth Advisors. Greg founded HCR Wealth Advisors on with the core company principles that still support the company today. He wanted to create a firm that put the clients first and gave the most comprehensive and educated advice possible. HCR Wealth Advisors aims to establish life-long relationships with it’s client through education, trust, communication, and service. Greg’s leadership has steered HCR Wealth Advisors from a two-person, family-operated financial services boutique to a multi-faceted, SEC-Registered Investment Advisory firm with client investment portfolios totaling over a billion dollars.
Greg’s leadership at the Los Angeles-based firm has fostered an amazing team environment that has resulted in incredibly low turnover and high retention. Greg is incredibly dedicated to his work and his clients, and continues to lead by example. He is still very connected to each department in the firm and takes a strong interest in overall firm management with an emphasis on new and more effective ways to provide exceptional service to clients.
Greg makes it a point to spend time with his clients so they can develop a highly personalized plan of action as a team and help them achieve their goals. Even after 30 years of working in the industry, Greg has still yet to encounter two clients or two life transitions that are the same. It is for this reason that Greg and his advisors make sure to take great care in comprehensively getting to know clients so they can be helped on their path to achieving the financial goals they have set for their lives.
Greg received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Southern California. He currently holds the following professional designations: Investment Security Corporation Registered Representative, Licensed Securities Broker with FINRA, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), and Fully Licensed California Life Agent.
Where did the idea for HCR Wealth Advisors come from?
I started my career at a brokerage firm and quickly learned that those types of firms have products and services to sell to clients. After a brief tenure there, I founded HCR Wealth Advisors based on core company principles that still support the company today. I wanted to create a firm that truly put the clients first and gave the most comprehensive and unbiased advice possible. The mission of HCR Wealth Advisors is to establish life-long relationships with each client through education, trust, communication and service. We have been fortunate in our growth over the years, from a two-person, family-operated financial services boutique to a multi-faceted, SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm representing over a billion dollars in assets.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
With such a large client base, having a typical day is pretty atypical, but I usually start my day by taking a look at pending and upcoming tasks in our CRM system to make sure that I am providing the level service that our clients deserve. Once I get a feel for upcoming tasks, client meetings and calls for the day, I spend some time on market analysis and try to keep up on relevant reading until my appointments begin. Once that begins, my day belongs to the clients, so I do my best to own my mornings.
How do you bring ideas to life?
One of the great things about HCR is the collaborative, team environment. From operations to the advisory team, we have an open door approach for new ideas, and we also encourage our team to work together to find new ways of approaching issues, anything to improve the way we do things. We have even employed some ideas brought to us by clients! Once a good idea has been established and thought out from different perspectives, we select a team to get the ball rolling and away we go.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think one of the recent trends in the industry that is particularly exciting is the new rules regarding transparency around fees/disclosures. This is a great way for clients to better understand the value we bring and feel comfortable about keeping their assets with us.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
One thing that has really helped me personally is strategic calendaring. I go ahead in my calendar to block off time for things I need to do in order to stay balanced like exercise, time to analyze/read in the mornings, etc., then meetings and calls are scheduled around that. It’s a simple concept but has really made a huge difference in my overall productivity since I’m guaranteed to get time to do what makes things flow better for me everyday.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to listen, really listen to what clients want and to their perspective and from there, use my expertise to build a strategy for them, rather than come up with an objective strategy before truly understanding their perspective. In order to help clients reach their financial goals and achieve financial freedom, you first have to learn what their definition of financial freedom is. From there, it’s your job to help them achieve it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can be in your 50s and still play basketball!
As the leader of a business, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
It is imperative to stay focused on why we’re here. At the end of the day, we are here to help the clients; it’s important to keep that in mind with everything that we do from the moment we walk in the door.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our most successful strategy to growing our business is focusing on client service. Providing top notch service to each client has spurred a great client retention rate, and has also been a huge help with client referrals.
What is one failure you had as a professional, and how did you overcome it?
I think one business decision that I would do over if I could would be to keep everything in-house as long as possible as a cost saving measure. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are great advantages to having some specializations in-house, but I think we would have benefited from hiring experts to help us expand our infrastructure before hitting capacity, rather than waiting until we started to feel the strain on our team before making investments in that initiative.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Flavor-infused ice cubes. Who wouldn’t love ice cubes with lemon or other flavors/herbs already inside?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My most well-spent money recently was on a massage. I know it’s a simple thing but I can’t stress enough how much work life balance has become a priority in my life, and consistent self-care plays a huge role in that.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Our CRM system, Junxure Cloud, is specific to the financial services industry and has some intuitive features that really help us keep track of client service. It makes it very easy to see pending and upcoming services and opportunities so the entire advisory team can not only stay on top of things, but get ahead of them. It also helps a lot to have key information in a centralized place so anyone from the client services team can provide accurate and timely assistance to any client who needs it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recently read “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton. He is able to give sound personal, financial advice in an accessible and sometimes a funny way. I think it’s a great read and it’s well told, so I definitely recommend it.
What is your favorite quote?
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity answered, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
- Listen to what your clients want, and build your strategy around that
- Collaborative, team environments create the best atmosphere for great ideas
- Client service is the key to success
- Own your day and take care of yourself
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.