Title: Partner and chief investment officer at Single Point Partners
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, 1992; Master’s degree in business administration, Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University, 1997
After 12 years at BNY Mellon, Boston-area financial executive Rene Jarquin has leapt to a boutique wealth management firm with a business model he describes as transformative. In March, Jarquin became partner and chief investment officer of Back Bay-based Single Point Partners, a 5-year-old wealth management firm that bills clients a flat annual retainer.
“That’s a huge point,” said Jarquin, 47. “You know you are getting unbiased advice.”
By comparison, most wealth-management firms earn a percent of assets managed, which can incent “asset gathering,” he said. “There are many families for whom that is not the ideal way to engage with them. They want pure, unadulterated, unbiased advice."
He joined founder Shaun Erickson and partner Seth Corkin at Single Point. Jarquin declined to disclose the firm’s annual revenue, but said he and his partners work with about 50 families. Jarquin came to the U.S. from Nicaragua when he was a boy, and since graduated from top universities and rose in an industry he loves. But wealth management tends to be “clubby” and difficult for outsiders to penetrate, particularly in Boston, Jarquin said.
Jarquin tells BBJ correspondent Jonathan Hemmerdinger about how he immersed himself in the Boston chapter of ALPFA, the Association of Latino Professionals For America. He has been ALPFA president, and chapter co-founder Juan Carlos Morales helped Jarquin land the BNY Mellon job, he said.
Describe Single Point, and your role as CIO. The company is a personal CFO service boutique. We engage families through our personal CFOs to advise them across the full-range of financial issues. My area of focus is analysis, construction and design of portfolios... My partners are certified financial planners. … They basically advise on the full range of financial issues, from retirement income planning, income tax planning, estate tax planning, health care finance, education finance.
What persuaded you to leap to a boutique firm? The decision wasn’t really about going from a big shop to a small shop. It was more about going from an old, tired business model to a new, innovative business model. I have a vision of how this industry is going to evolve. The traditional model of billing off assets … unfortunately does not work to the client’s advantage. ... More clients are realizing they are not getting unbiased advice. On the other hand, we charge a flat annual dollar retainer. It is not linked to how much of your net worth you decide to place with us. This business model, I think … is where the wealth management industry is going to evolve.
How would you advise someone making a career change? For someone … in their late 20s, I would draw parallels to the process our most-recent partner who joined Single Point went through. He did his homework thoroughly. He spent a lot of time getting to know Shaun and myself. He asked us very tough questions. All too often, I see people take things at face value. They don’t press. They don’t push. They don’t dig. They don’t cross check. And they get sold to. They end up in positions that were not what they thought they were signing up for. Our (new partner) sent us a five-page document, single-spaced, when interviewing us. When we saw this, we thought, this is the guy. The other advice I tell people: understand the person you are going to be working for. Don’t worry so much about the brand name or the company, because, ultimately, it’s about the person you work for, and whether or not that person is invested in your success.
How is your work style unique? We believe in setting behavioral goals, not financial goals. We believe that financial outcomes are a natural end result … of behavior goals. We like to ask a lot of questions. There is tremendous value in being able to discover and uncover unarticulated pain points and concerns. That is our modus operandi, unlike a lot of shops where they talk at you and lecture.
How has ALPFA enriched your career? ALPFA exists in Boston because it is not a level playing field. … The way the Boston financial services industry works, is that there are a number of tribes. ... Not necessarily along racial or ethnic lines. It’s more along alumni and college lines. Lines of where you worked before. The Boston College alumni network. Holy Cross. Harvard alumni network. The prep schools. Belmont Hill. Milton Academy. These alumni networks are very effective ways to source talent. In the big institutional asset management world, maybe there is a little bit more openness to hiring folks from other countries and cultures, but in the wealth management space in Boston, it is as insular as you can imagine. Clubby. Male dominated. It’s a little bit better for women. ALPFA was a way for me to break into this and give me some social capital. … ALPFA was my family. More-established, long-tenured Latinos ... gave me a leg into this world. Through my involvement in the ALPFA board, J.C. Morales got to meet me, engaged me… and was comfortable advocating for me when the opportunity to join Mellon as a portfolio manager opened up. My roll has been to pay it forward, look for other ALPFA members. Coach them and open up doors.
What’s more important: Luck or perseverance? You’ve got to have both. Perhaps the third ingredient is … building social capital. Networking. Getting involved in organizations you feel passionate about. … People aren’t going to discover you because you are so talented. You’ve got to somehow get out there.
What ambition do you have outside wealth management? I will measure my success by how my daughters have evolved. My greatest ambition is for my daughters to become resilient, socially committed individuals (with) passion for family and passion for leaving a mark and helping others. And wherewithal to bounce back from life’s adversaries. Right behind that is whether or not this step into. ... Single Point Partners leads to a much-more widespread change in the way families access financial advice.