Employee Spotlight: Meet Monica Sipes, Senior Wealth Advisor

February 2, 2021

Meet Monica Sipes, Senior Wealth Advisor

 

In continuation of our employee spotlight series, we’d like to introduce one of our Senior Wealth Advisors, Monica Sipes. We asked Monica to answer a few questions about her history in the financial industry, how she got there, and what she is doing to lead the way at Exencial Wealth Advisors.

 

What lead you into our industry?

I grew up with very fortunate financials, and unfortunately really had no idea about money, investing, or anything of the sort. My father was a high performing tech executive, had equity participation in a few IPOs (around the tech boom). He did well, and I never wanted for anything. Looking back, I had a lot to learn!

I got a call one day from my dad, while a freshman in college, that my parents were getting a divorce, and it rocked my world. I came home that weekend after the call, and my dad handed me a check for $14,000 while we were sitting at the kitchen table. He told me that was the balance of my education account, and he didn’t have anything else for me financially, he just lost his job, and good luck. He was in tears, and said he failed me. He made some bad trading mistakes, horrible budgeting for many years, and financial strain of a divorce.

This single event ended up being the “best” worst thing that happened to me. From that moment on, I learned everything I could about personal finance, and investing. I wanted to help save other families from what happened to me and my family. I was going to be a financial advisor as soon as possible.

I worked my way through school, and was luckily able to get through with very little debt. I worked at Sewell Lexus as a receptionist while going to school full time. I owe Carl Sewell to this day, because if I had an A or a B in my class it was reimbursed to me at 100%. Believe me when I say, I was incredibly grateful for the very generous opportunity.

I needed to experience the struggle though. It made me who I am today, and why I take planning and financial leadership so seriously.

 

What moves did you make starting your finance career?

I started in the business in 2009 with Fidelity Investments, and had several different roles and really was an incredible training and learning experience. My last role at Fidelity was a sales/advice role and I found myself getting really attached to clients. I wanted to have more of a long term relationship.

I left Fidelity, and joined UBS as a new financial advisor at the Dallas branch. About 6 months into my role, the highest producing advisor walked into my tiny closet-like “newbie” office, and I thought I had won the lottery.

He said “hey, pack up your stuff and come with me” and he actually took me in to his enormous corner office, set me up a desk, and let me learn from him. I listened to him on the phone all day, and learned what he did for clients. He was brilliant minded on the investment front. He had an incredible impact on me, to this day. I think his intention was that I would share an office with him for a couple months, but it ended up being a couple of years. Thanks, Tim.

I eventually found my way to Exencial where I have also been very lucky to have some incredible mentors. John Burns hired me back in 2015, and as soon as I understood the capabilities of the firm I was beyond excited to join. My former Co-CEO, Jerry Georgopoulos, took me under his wing for several years. I have never worked harder for anyone, but I have also never learned more from anyone either.

5 years later with Exencial, I have the honor of leading relationships for clients as a senior wealth advisor and partner of the firm. So, that’s my story. A lot of hard work, a boatload of humility, and a little bit of luck. Many great mentors along the way. As a female getting into this business in her early 20s, it certainly wasn’t always easy, but I am really proud of what I have accomplished professionally. I look forward to the next 25+ years with my team.

 

What is your philosophy and approach for handling clients?

My most important role is a steward for my clients. Many of these clients have attained or aspire to attain a work optional lifestyle. I have the honor of leading a team of advisors, specialists, administrative professionals. We all work together with great respect for one another, an unbelievable alignment and set of expectations in which we adhere to. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it – and I think also the reason we have such incredible loyalty from our clients, in return for ours to them. Our jobs are dependent upon successful execution of being luminaries for our clients, every single day and over long periods of time, consistently. I am biased, but am certain I have an insanely talented and dedicated team, and we are only getting started.

Our set of guidelines is as follows:

  1. Turn a problem into a client for life. Do the impossible.
  2. Anticipate, follow up, be proactive.
  3. Never allow clients to do something for themselves that you can do for them.
  4. Let clients know what you can do, and what you will do – not what you can’t do.
  5. Take responsibility. Get it done.
  6. Do it right the first time. Pay attention to detail. Make the interaction a delight.
  7. Treat every interaction as a VIP, triple A client.

Tell us about your team and what they’re capable of?

We truly function as a personal CFO, anything related to finance we can and we welcome the opportunity to lead and administer all related items.

Christian Patterson – Wealth Advisor

Christian serves as a wealth advisor and the lead planner of The Luminary Group at Exencial Wealth Advisors. He received his undergraduate business degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2018 and received a financial planning certificate from Southern Methodist University in 2020. Christian is currently preparing for the CFP ® exam set to take place in March 2021.

Christian became a wealth advisor so that he could help others accomplish their life dreams and goals. He has seen firsthand what can happen to a family’s finances without proper guidance and education and seeing this has driven him to educate and assist those in his community to better their lives both now and in the future. He believes that the key to great financial health is the creation of a financial plan – a detailed, goal-based map of what needs to happen to get clients from where they currently are to where they want to be.

Bryce Harrison – Wealth Advisor

Bryce discovered his love for Finance in college and subsequently realized it was a great path for him to serve others. He has a passion for advising and guiding his clients to realize their financial aspirations. He is a big believer in the life experiences, opportunities, and fulfillment that can be achieved through prudent financial management.

Bryce Graduated in 2008 from the University of Utah with a B.A. in Finance. He spent 10 years at Fidelity Investments in their Private Client group handling complex project resolution and advising on wealth planning and retirement solutions. He recently decided to pursue his MBA at TCU where he graduated in 2020 with an emphasis in Finance.

Kyle Hafstad – Estate Planning Specialist

Kyle graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Business Management and Finance in 2007. After an initial search for a corporate finance job, he found an opportunity with a national planning firm that offered financial, estate and business planning services to High Net Worth families. The complexities and problem solving for families and small business owners were a natural fit. He quickly found that the relationships he built with his clients afforded him an opportunity to constantly learn and provide evolving solutions that could dramatically impact a family’s lives, over multiple generations, in a positive manner.  After 11 years with his previous firm, Kyle joined Exencial in 2019, eager to broaden the scope of services that he could offer to clients.

With him, Kyle brings a collaborative process that pulls together all of the members and elements of a client’s planning team including their attorneys, CPAs and financial professionals. Part of his journey with advisors and their clients is to prepare everyone for the financial and technical considerations for their existing and future planning. It is imperative that we not only put the correct planning structure in place for a family, but that we also oversee and assist with the ongoing maintenance of their estate and help them understand the multitude of the different key persons, roles and responsibilities associated with their planning and documents.

Together we strive to create and structure various integrated planning strategies that preserve and transfer wealth for our families. Our aim is to simplify what is often a complex and comprehensive recommendation to our clients but also give them the comfort in understanding we have taken a great deal more into consideration than just our end solution. Integrating multiple complex strategies with respect to family, business, charitable and tax planning is our expertise.

Daniel Jensen – Tax Manager

Daniel Jensen, CPA joined Exencial Wealth Advisors in November 2020.  He began his career at PwC in Dallas, where he worked in tax compliance, planning, and research for private equity and fund-of-funds clients.  He also has experience serving the tax needs of high-net-worth individuals and their closely-held entities with a multi-family office in Dallas.  Daniel is part of Exencial’s tax team and helps with managing all tax-related issues and providing best-in-class service.

Daniel graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting and a MPA in Taxation.  He currently lives in Dallas, TX with his wife, Sarah, and their two children, William and Hannah.

 

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