Business of the Month JNBA Financial Advisors

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Doing Well While Doing Good

By Haley Freeman

This is a family story. It’s a family story not just about Richard and Kim Brown and their success in leading a second-generation family business, JNBA Financial Advisors. It’s also a story about your family, and what it takes to create a legacy that allows you and your loved ones to do well while doing good. This is the cycle of goodwill the JNBA family has been creating in the Minnesota community for more than 38 years.

Nearly 40 years ago, Judith N. Brown challenged the status quo. Not only because she was a woman working in the uncommon role of a financial advisor, but because she questioned how anyone could trust a financial advisor who wasn’t sitting on the same side of the table with their clients. She dared to ask how someone taking a commission from an outside securities firm could give their clients impartial investment advice. Judith helped introduce a new idea to the industry – a fee-based service model, with personal trusted advisors who are compensated only by their clients and whose focus is solely on the best financial interests of the families they advise.

Judith’s model worked, and over the years, it has been further enhanced by the innovative leadership of her son, Richard, JNBA’s CEO, and his wife, Kim, the company’s president. “As independent investment advisors, we have no shareholders, and we don’t use proprietary financial products,” Kim explained. “We report only to our client and deliver transparent solutions that are the best solutions for their individual goals and circumstances. We are in partnership with our clients. Their success is our success.”

JNBA is widely recognized for its extraordinary ethics and integrity, as evidenced by the many honors it has received. To name a few, Barron’s ranked JNBA among the top 1,200 advisors in the country for the past eight years, and listed Richard as the top independent registered investment advisor (RIA) on that list in Minnesota for the past three years. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) honored JNBA as winner of its Torch Award for Ethics in 2015. JNBA was also a finalist for the BBB International Torch Award for Ethics in 2016.

Further, JNBA has maintained a 96 percent client retention rate since it began tracking in 2001. The company now has over $800 million in assets under management, among a client community spanning individuals and families, businesses and nonprofits. “It’s a tribute to our team and their understanding of the opportunity we have every day to serve our clients to the highest level,” Kim said.

Teamwork is critical to JNBA’s service model. Every wealth management client receives care from a team of distinguished professionals, including a senior advisor, an associate advisor and a client account specialist, who listen to their needs and work collaboratively to provide expert advice.

This comprehensive approach to financial planning has inspired a new service offering, the family office. The family office advisory team acts as a family concierge, ensuring that key advisors are fully integrated, and a client’s overall business, legal and financial interests are wholly aligned and strategically protected. Richard is personally spearheading this rapidly growing segment of the business. He commented, “We wanted to add value for our clients by acting as a family CFO for their lifestyle and household management. We have a phenomenally dedicated team who works on this and makes quite a difference in folks’ lives. As trusted advisors, we can help to protect their wealth by looking out for their personal and professional interests now and in the longterm. We focus on six core areas ranging from personal services like bill pay and travel planning, to professional services like brand management and real estate support. Rarely does a single professional have the time to pull all the pieces together for a client’s agenda. We know our clients, and we care about helping them manage their assets efficiently and consistently.”

This personal care also manifests in a fundamental belief that building wealth starts with building communities. JNBA’s multi-generational team looks for opportunities to roll up their sleeves and give their time and talents to leading life-changing initiatives and helping their neighbors in need. The company provides team members with one day off per year to participate in any community service about which they are passionate, and at staff meetings, they are encouraged to talk about what they have done. Whether they are plunging into a frozen Lake Calhoun and Lake Superior to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota, or helping clients experience the joy of sharing their legacy while they are still living, JNBA exemplifies doing well while doing good.

JNBA also hosts a robust internship program designed to cultivate the next generation of ethical, client-focused financial advisors. “So far, we’ve had about 40 interns from 13 different colleges around the country,” Kim said. “We want our internships to be meaningful for our firm and for them. Our team spends nine months putting together projects for them to work on that will give them a feeling for what life will be like if they become a financial advisor. At the end of every summer, the interns do a presentation. The creativity and brilliance of these young people never ceases to impress us. This is a fabulous career for those who have a passion for it.”

In this family company that aspires to a higher standard of financial planning and asset management, it’s not just about the numbers – it’s about how they make people feel. “In any business, you can tell the health of the company by the actions of its employees,” Kim said. “We keep a close pulse on our employees, and we do things that add value to their family life or whatever it is that makes them happy. We take that same experience and put it into our client relationships. Our job is to help guide clients through some of their most important life decisions. Often, it’s about emotions more than it is about money. How they feel is very important to us, and we want to be their partner in the tough decisions and give them peace of mind. That’s the legacy Judi started, and we want to continue to be known as good people doing good things.”


JNBA Financial Advisors
8500 Normandale Lake Blvd., # 450 Bloomington, MN 55437 (952) 844-0995 www.jnba.com