On Mediaura Podcast Episode 2, Mediaura CEO Andrew Aebersold is joined by Vaughan Scott, CEO of Axiom Financial Strategies Group to discuss a variety of topics related to the financial services industry, the services and perspectives Axiom provides, as well as how Mediaura is working with Axiom.
Vaughan Scott grew up in the Louisville-metro area and eventually followed his mother’s path into the financial services industry. Axiom Financial Services Group is based in Jeffersonville, IN. They have a team of professionals who offer a range of services and distinct backgrounds in the industry. Vaughan and Andrew originally met about 15 years ago. Vaughan recalled the first impression he had of Andrew and his thought process, which led to the working relationship they have today.
Andrew and the Mediaura team have experience with a wide range of clients. Some have a national presence, some are regional and some are local. The exciting opportunity he sees with Axiom is that they are a local business with aspirations of growing on a much larger scale. Mediaura has faced some of the same challenges in appealing to a larger geographically-based clientele.
Challenges to Marketing in the Financial Services Industry
When it comes to marketing a financial services client, there are stringent compliance issues to be considered. The government has imposed limits and guidelines regarding what a firm can say and how they market themselves. These measures were created to protect the consumer from false or misleading advertisements and performance claims. For both Axiom Financial Strategies Group and Mediaura, these compliance issues mean they have to be both cognizant of the issues and careful to adhere to any relevant guidance.
Andrew addressed a similar situation in the field of healthcare. Mediaura has a strong reputation in this market segment. HIPAA compliance is a significant factor to consider in supporting the marketing and internal systems Mediaura manages for its clients. That being said, marketing in the financial services industry does present unique challenges (and opportunities).
Vaughan emphasizes that for his firm, the goal has always been to function more as advisors, rather than as salespeople. This is a significant distinction we’ll discuss later in the conversation.
Axiom Financial Strategies Group Serves a Range of Clients
The firm’s website (www.AxiomFSG.com) lists the following client categories:
- Individuals and Families
- Family Enterprises and Entrepreneurs
- Employee-sponsored Retirement Plans
Axiom’s team has worked with families for many years. That ongoing relationship with multiple individuals within those families is a testament to the focus on long-term relationships Axiom brings. Vaughan Scott and his team are very intentional when it comes to protecting and servicing those various constituencies and their value-sets.
Andrew raises the issue of dealing with the transfer of wealth to other generations. Vaughan discusses how the millennial generation will soon be taking on decision-making responsibility for their parents. This younger generation has grown up with a higher exposure to complexity, which may enable them to better understand financial investing and wealth-creating strategies.
From a marketing standpoint, it’s relatively easy to target the various audience groups Axiom wishes to engage. The “art” is in crafting the proper message, approach, and platform selection for each of the unique audiences.
Interested in Crypto Currencies?
Vaughan discusses an important factor driving interest in cryptocurrencies. It’s logical that with governments flooding the markets with capital, the finite availability of crypto may appeal to an individual who wants to protect his/her buying power in the future.
Interestingly, Vaughan explains how the general lack of understanding related to financial matters poses a significant risk to us as a nation. He uses an example of the current 10-year Treasury rate between the US, Italy, and Greece. Note, the higher the rate of return, the higher the rate of risk. The answer might surprise you. (You can skip to roughly the 17:00 mark to hear the answer.)
Credentials Matter in Financial Services
We briefly touched on this, earlier in the episode, so let’s continue. Surprisingly, you don’t have to have a financial background to call yourself a financial advisor. Vaughan details a recent conversation with an individual who’s in a training program with another financial services provider. That person commented about the number of people in her training classes who don’t even have college degrees.
The Axiom FSG team is fortunate to have 4 members who are Certified Financial Planners. This distinct designation takes 12-18 months to earn. The team has 2 MBAs, a person with a Masters in Finance, Retirement Income Certified Professionals (another separate designation), and an individual who is a Certified Private Wealth Advisor.
If you’re actively looking for a financial advisor or wealth manager, it’s important that you do ask about their industry-related credentials and experience. If it’s a younger professional whom you’re considering, confirm they are on the right path to earning the proper distinctions and designations. Your financial future and investment portfolio should be managed by a professional, not simply a salesperson.
Andrew and Vaughan Scott discuss how Axiom can be an important alternative for someone who, thus far, has only had an online, investment account. As that portfolio begins to grow your needs and objectives may evolve. This is a point at which having direct contact with a local financial service professional may make more sense. This also re-emphasizes the importance of working with someone who’s a Certified Financial Planner.
Axiom Business Advisory Services for Entrepreneurs
Vaughan’s team now has a separate division of the firm which provides business advisory services. One of the individuals (Tim Volk) comes from a family business background. Dax Whitehouse is a former CEO who helped grow a family business into a publicly-traded business. He’s served in the CFO and CEO capacities. The business eventually operated in 7 countries.
Tim and Dax bring real-world experience and perspectives when it comes to advising Axiom’s family and entrepreneur clients. Vaughan also has a valuable level of experience in this area, for the benefit of Axiom’s clients.
Mike Grau (CFP) and Vaughan have been partners for over 15 years. Both sincerely enjoy seeing other people succeed. Michelle Konkle (CFP) is another member of the team who also provides proven insights based on her experience and the work she and Mike do together.
Recognizing the Contributions of Successful Women
Andrew comments how the emphasis on breaking down the gender walls in both industries has significantly developed, since the 1980s. At Mediaura, many of the female members of Andrew’s team are highly successful in various roles, even more so than some of the men. There’s an inherent advantage in the diversity of experiences, perspectives and values.
Vaughan strongly agrees with Andrew’s perspective. Axiom Financial Services Group is very intentional about being diverse. In his view, women have a competitive advantage in the financial services industry. In particular, there’s a strong sense of emotional intelligence that occurs innately.
Given Axiom’s client base ranges from Boomers to Gen Z, there’s a significant advantage for the firms that place a value on the diversity its team(s). Being able to understand and consider the varying viewpoints and objectives of the client base enables a firm, such as Axiom, to better align with its clients.
Axiom Financial Strategies Group Brings a Global Perspective
Vaughan spent a summer studying in Austria and later earned his Executive MBA at the Thunderbird School of International Management. During that program, his cohort was based in Geneva, Switzerland. These experiences have helped Vaughan to form a broad perspective about globalization and various, related issues. This first-hand experience and education will benefit the firm and its clients in the years to come. It’s a global economy.
The financial services industry is plagued by group-think. Having direct experience and the ability to do independent research is a valuable capability for Axiom’s clients.
Interested in Contacting Vaughan Scott and the Axiom team?
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