Luke Wiley wants to write the book on helping clients reach their potential.
Don’t tell Luke Wiley something can’t be done. For the Cincinnati advisor, that would only be a challenge to help him achieve a new goal.
Wiley grew up in a military family. He credits his parents for instilling a sense of possibility in their three sons. “My parents never said, ‘Don’t do it,’ or ‘What if you fail?’ They always said, ‘Give it a shot.’ ”
That guidance propelled him to earn a soccer scholarship to the University of Cincinnati and triple-major in finance, accounting, and real estate. An accounting professor introduced him to a friend at Merrill Lynch in Cincinnati. Wiley joined the advisory in 1997, at age 22. He stayed there until early 2009, when he and his brother Zach joined UBS and formed Wiley Wealth Management. The firm has about $260 million in assets under management.
Focus on Client Service
During their years at Merrill, the brothers grew to appreciate the importance of client service. Today, their client base consists largely of Procter & Gamble employees, retirees, and their families. The firm uses what is called the Supernova client service model, pioneered at Merrill Lynch and detailed in the book The Supernova Advisor, by Rob Knapp.
Wiley acknowledges that getting up and running with the Supernova model is labor intensive, “but once you do, you have the whole year mapped out. My clients know the exact date and time I’m going to call them. It creates a tangibility of service. What we do is a little gray, so we wanted to take client service to a whole new level. That’s allowed us to build a special brand within the Procter & Gamble community.”
Ninety percent of Wiley’s clientele are P&G families, and he says the firm’s retention rate is nearly 100%. Every new client in 2012 was a P&G family. Referrals are a key component of Wiley’s marketing.
“I ask clients what they value the most about working with us, and then I talk with them, brainstorm with them, to identify other people who could benefit from the same value,” he says. “Thankfully, they don’t keep us a secret.”
Behavioral psychology is among Wiley’s interests. He says that people have beliefs and thought patterns that limit their potential. He strives to overcome them himself and to help his clients do the same. His study of psychology also applies to his research into investor and market behavior. Wiley cites the influence of writers such as Oaktree Capital Group chairman Howard Marks, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, and hedge fund manager Seth Klarman, author of a hard-to-find 1991 investing book called, Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor.