SIDNEY – Vance Stewart, who was Edward Jones’ first financial adviser in Canada, is celebrating 25 years with the company and 20 years as a member of the Sidney community.
Stewart’s family has been a major influence in his career, including his decision to join Edward Jones and his decision to move to Sidney, and the family bonds have grown in the past quarter century as his two children have followed him into the business.
“That has been something that I think every parent would enjoy,” Stewart said of watching his son and daughter follow in his footsteps. “Both of my kids knew they wanted to come on with Edward Jones at a young age so they aimed their education and everything towards that.”
Stewart was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, before moving to the United States when he was about 20 years old. He studied business at Troy State University in Alabama but switched career paths and began working as a probation officer in Naples, Florida, which is where he met his wife, Linda.
He maintained his interest in finance, however, and studied the markets and investing on his own to the point that he was giving investment advice to his friends. His father-in-law, who had been an Edward Jones client for 30 years, told Stewart he needed to get paid for all the guidance he was offering and set up a meeting with his personal financial adviser, a meeting that started Stewart’s path toward becoming a financial adviser.
Stewart was impressed with Edward Jones’ business methods and its emphasis on personal connections with clients. He applied for a position with the firm and, as a native Canadian, was offered the chance to open Edward Jones’ first office outside of the United States in Orleans, Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa.
He worked in Orleans from June 1994 to February 1999, becoming a limited partner with Edward Jones in 1998, before family connections called him back to the United States. With his wife being from DeKalb, Illinois, Stewart requested a transfer to the Midwest and found a promising opportunity in Sidney.
“When this office came open, there were already some clients here so it was an easy transition for me to come to this office,” he said.
Stewart has grown his customer base in Sidney over the past 20 years and has been able to help his children get started with the company. His son, Andrew Stewart, now has an office in Piqua, and his daughter, Dominique Christman, is moving out of her father’s downtown Sidney office into her own office on Vandemark Road in Sidney.
“I hope to keep it growing,” Stewart said of the goals for his business. “I obviously want to assist my son and daughter and watch them grow their businesses. I want to continue to support the community.”
Helping his children and serving the community have been among the most rewarding parts of his career, Stewart said. Becoming a limited partner with Edward Jones also was a big milestone for him.
“It’s a sign of you’ve been doing a good job with bringing your clients along,” he said.
Stewart still has some of the same clients from 20 years ago when he first moved to Sidney. He helps his clients with a wide range of financial decisions beyond investing, such as buying cars.
“When you are the pivotal point of your clients’ financial decisions, it’s a place of importance and trust, and that’s always something that I strive to attain from my clients,” he said.
In dealing with clients, Stewart creates individualized plans for each person. Some want to plan for a comfortable retirement, some are managing their money in retirement and others are looking to pass money onto the next generation.
“Everybody’s different,” Stewart said. “No two people are the same so one of the things we spend time with our clients doing is setting down and finding out what they need their money to do for them.”
While clients’ goals for their money have stayed the same since he became a financial adviser, Stewart said, the industry has changed as investors have more access to information than ever with the proliferation of cellphones, computers and the 24-hour news cycle.
“I think the industry as a whole has changed over the years. Information is more readily available to people. Everyone has a cellphone now where as back then there were very few cellphones,” Stewart said. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
The shift from pensions to 401(k) retirement plans also led more people to learn about investing as their decisions affect their future income.
“I think a lot of what I do is education,” Stewart said. “It’s educating clients as to the investment world. And we have all kinds of clients, some that are very novice, some that are very experienced.”
One of the things Stewart emphasizes to his clients is they need to have a long-term view of their investments. Worrying about the day-to-day fluctuations of the markets isn’t wise, he said.
“If you look at it every day it will bother you. If you just let it do what it needs to do and you have good, quality investments – and that’s the key – then you’ll do great,” Stewart said. “The plan is designed for 20 to 30 years or longer. It’s not designed for one year or one event.”
Having been in the business for decades and having established relationships with his clients, Stewart said, his clients don’t call as often as they used to with worries about the day’s news.
As for what’s ahead, Stewart said he doesn’t see any major issues with the economy in the short term but can’t project farther into the future.
“I don’t know when the downturns are going to happen, I don’t know when the upswings are going to happen, but I know that over time you’re going to have more up than down,” he said. “It sounds very simplistic, and it is, but time is the true element.”
Stewart can be reached at 937-492-3153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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