Helping clients grow in every area of financial and employee performance Brian Menickella is the co-founder, owner, and managing partner of The Beacon Group of Companies, a broad-based financial services firm headquartered in King of Prussia, PA. The Beacon Group offers high net worth individuals and business organizations of all sizes a full suite of services in four categories: retirement and financial planning, insurance and risk management, health insurance and employee benefits, and human resources. A recognized expert on corporate retirement and wealth management issues, Brian is a Forbes contributor who has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Magazine has named him a Five Star Wealth Manager three times. Throughout his 35-year career, Brian has also worked closely with members of MLB and the NFL as financial advisor for professional athletes. Brian Menickella spoke with Joseph Armstrong, business attorney and principal at Offit Kurman, for this interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dHaK9Kyg-g&feature=youtu.be JOE ARMSTRONG: When did you found the The Beacon Group of Companies? Who was the other co-founder? Steven Sharkey and Anthony Cellucci? BRIAN MENICKELLA: Initially, it was just myself. In 1996, we formed Beacon Financial Services. About two years after that, we took on another partner, Steve Sharkey, who’s run and helped co-found Beacon Insurance Services, which is our commercial property and casualty insurance division. Two years after that we expanded our service offering into the group benefits business with the hiring of Anthony Cellucci, who then became a third partner in the Beacon Group of Companies. In my position as the managing partner in the financial services division, Beacon Financial Services, my role and core competence is in corporate retirement plans, the wealth management of the owners and managers of those companies, as well as professional athlete clients. Can you describe The Beacon Way? In positioning ourselves, when discussing wealth management issues to these potential clients or potential prospects and current clients, we try to separate how we build portfolios to help protect our clients’ interests. What I mean by that is that aside from typical advisory firms that use a term called “asset allocation”—which basically means safety through diversification and buying different types of securities—we add an additional level of diversification, because we add additional strategies to that typical “just buy and hold” philosophy. I think how we typically choose the investments that comprise those portfolios is also a differentiator. Fundamentally, we’re more on the passive investing side than the active investing side, meaning that we shy away from most mutual funds that have active managers. We feel that the additional cost of those funds really doesn’t equate to additional value. We’re more apt to choose passive investments such as ETFs, which are exchange traded funds, that have all of the benefits of a mutual fund because of the diversification, and the number of securities that are held within that basket of stock, but also have the advantages of an individual stock in that they can trade throughout the course of the day. The utilization of ETFs allows us to build very low cost portfolios, and since we don’t primarily focus on actively managed funds, we instead actively manage those indexes.
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