Clients come first at the newly formed Cyndeo Wealth Partners.
Matt Kilgroe said he had worked in the “wirehouse” world, national brokerage firms that include UBS, for almost 30 years when a combination of “pushes and pulls” made the team want to leave and start Cyndeo Wealth Partners in St. Petersburg in June 2020.
Cyndeo provides financial planning and investment services to clients in 40 states.
“That made it exciting to go independent,” said Kilgroe, the president and CEO who managed $1.2 billion in assets at UBS. “The ‘pushes’ were bureaucratic — it was more difficult to get things accomplished within a large company.” The “pulls” included things like the use of advanced technology, succession planning and growth capabilities.
“As an independent firm, decisions can be driven at the local level,” Kilgroe said. “Technology development is much better and stronger outside of the big wirehouses than inside. We were drawn to that. And growth, the ability to find multiple ways to grow and market ourselves.”
They made the decision together, he said, a move that is “rare, but becoming more of a trend within large wirehouses. We’re not alone in the things we’re seeing.”
He said picking a new name was the easy part.
“One thing we’re big about is connectivity — with our clients and in other situations and scenarios within their world,” Kilgroe said. “We all honed in on ‘syndeo,’ a Greek word that means connect.”
Seven team members are financial advisers, ranging in age from the 30s to 50s. The other six are support staff. When they left UBS, about 90 percent of their clients followed them.
“Our clients say they are getting comfortable, and they are loyal to us,” said Director of Business Development Pete Frantzis. “We have a lot of longevity, especially with the depth of the team we have. They are sensing we will be together for the rest of our lives.”
Their newfound autonomy is helping position them for succession when Kilgroe and Frantzis are ready to retire. “When we are ready, we will do it on our own timeframe and in our own manner,” Kilgroe said.
They are part of the Dynasty Financial Partners network, which provides middle and backend support, as well as transitioning services. The company recently moved from Manhattan and now operates out of the same St. Pete office building as Cyndeo. “Their entire business plan is founded on this,” Kilgroe said. “They work with breakaway advisers, those moving from large wirehouses to independence.”
Cyndeo picked Fidelity Institutional as its custodian. Asked why clients work with Cyndeo instead of dealing directly with Fidelity, Kilgroe explained: “The reality is, we’re building relationships with our clients by providing guidance and advice. Fidelity is an online platform, which is the right thing for some people. They have built a wonderful brand with multiple divisions,” like its 401(k) segment.
The fledgling company works with everyone from business owners and professional athletes to families, so having options is important. “The business owner who is building or growing a company and accumulating wealth is not going to want to worry about which stock to buy. We have a relationship with them; we provide advice and guidance, to make sure they have a solid financial plan to sustain their wealth. Professional athletes — they need budgets.”
They communicate with clients in whatever way needed, whether sitting next to each other on a park bench or using Zoom, Frantzis said. “COVID has shown us as an industry we can communicate in many ways. Technology is wonderful, but it’s the personal relationships that carry us, what our firm is about, that doesn’t really change.”
They’re also looking to recruit more advisers from the Northeast, people who may be looking for a lifestyle change, Kilgroe said. “Advisers tend to find their niche. The young folks on our team are attracting a younger clientele. In our sports and entertainment division, we have two younger folks working there because those stars tend to skew younger.”
Serving Polk County
As a board member and chair of the Central Florida Development Council’s Investor Relations Committee, Frantzis said his goal is to create value for the companies that invest in the CFDC. “Before COVID, we came up with more opportunities to network. We set up time allocated to social gatherings and we hope to get back to that very soon.”
“With everything going on, the growth in Polk County is unbelievable,” Frantzis said. “Businesses are moving in, Florida Polytechnic University is taking some leaps. When people talk about the future they are usually looking 10, 15, 20 years out. Our future is on a five-year timeline.”
CFDC President & CEO Sean Malott said Frantzis is a strategic thinker who is very community-minded. “It’s great to have him involved in our organization because he brings a different perspective. He interacts with people outside of the county and talks with them about why Polk County is a great place to do business. He is heavily focused on Polk County and is a wonderful ambassador.”
Frantzis is helping to recruit new companies to become investors. “The quality of the individuals, the level of professionalism, where we’re going — Amazon just leased more space — it’s neat to see everyone involved in that and watch all that materialize.”
He’s proud of the work the CFDC has done in helping distribute $30 million to businesses in need during the coronavirus. “It’s a grassroots effort. To a salon owner, $5,000 will pay the rent.”
Frantzis has lived in Lakeland for 23 years. He left banking in 2002 to work with Kilgroe.
“With Pete’s presence there, we’ve always had a good number of clients there,” Kilgroe said. “There’s so much going on. Geographically, it’s in the right spot halfway between Tampa and Orlando, what Pete calls the center of the universe.”
Both men and their colleagues are involved in their communities and support one another in the causes they are interested in. They are looking forward to giving back as their own company, too. “It’s one great opportunity when you own your own business,” Frantzis said. “We’ve sponsored social events for the CFDC and hosted events with guest speakers at Lone Palm.”