No. 30: Christopher Purdue
Firm: Wells Fargo
AUM: $629.25 million
Location: Morristown, NJ
Note: This profile is part of a special series devoted to On Wall Street’s Top 40 Under 40 ranking for 2012. Every day we take a look at an advisor who made the list to find out the secrets of their success.
“A lot of the time, advisors with a book of business our size will be part of a large team. That’s not the case with us,” says Chris Purdue. For Purdue, “us” consists of himself and his father William, a long-time industry veteran.
“We have one assistant, and that’s it,” Purdue says. “We answer our own phones. We’re really hands-on. When clients call to speak with us, they get right through. Clients like that extra personal touch.”
In fact, they still make house calls, especially for new clients. Even with those old-school ways, though, Purdue’s team has kept up with the times. “The biggest difference that I see in the way we practice now, compared with 10 years ago, is our ability to communicate with clients, 24/7,” Purdue says. “With email and cell phones, we’re available nights and weekends.”
Constantly keeping in touch is vital. “Clients are always reading or hearing something that causes them to be concerned,” Purdue says, such as headlines about the fiscal cliff. “Clients want to be assured that they’re protected against what might happen, and they like knowing they can call or email us at any time, to find out what we’re doing for them.”
Generally, the answer is that Purdue is still adhering to a conservative investment philosophy. “We focus on downside protection in uncertain times,” Purdue says. “We’re holding some cash and some floating rate securities. At some point, interest rates will rise.”
The scope of what Purdue does for clients, though, goes well beyond portfolio management. “When I started in the business, we mainly worked on investments. Now we’re like a mini-private bank,” Purdue says. “We can provide lending, cash management, mortgage refinancing, small business loans, and more.”
Purdue says that he offers a complete review of outside holdings to all clients, free of charge. “That includes their life insurance, their 401(k), their IRA, and so on,” he explains. “There’s nothing we don’t do. We’re confident that by doing a good job, we’ll get clients to consolidate their assets with us, rather than spread those assets among two or more advisors. We want to be a one-stop shop for all their financial needs.”