One of Tama’s longest serving finance professionals recently announced his intention to retire from the industry after 33 years.
For the past two months, Jeff Else and his investment company, The Investment Center of Tama, have been working on a merger with Tama County Investment Services as Else heads into retirement.
Tama County Investment Services has been located at the State Bank of Toledo since 1994 and is managed by Certified Financial Planner and Financial Advisor Brian Sokol. Sokol has headed the Toledo investment subsidiary since 2009.
“On the banking side, we felt comfortable with the acquisition of the business because the product line is very similar to what we offer,” says Sokol. “The clientele is also very similar. In fact, we’ve had several mutual clients over the years and that really helped the transition I think.
The acquisition was finalized at the end of December and since January 28 the employees are all working under the same roof in Toledo.
Although Else is retiring from the business, two former Tama Investment Center employees, Holly Henry and Darcy Lamb, have been retained by Tama County Investment Services and will continue in their roles as administrative assistants. alongside Sokol in Toledo.
Wes Upah will also assist Sokol and the Tama County Investment Services team. Upah is currently a pre-licensed registered representative and is on track to obtain his securities licenses in the coming year.
Else said he felt his business and Tama County Investment Services were doing well and was confident his clients would continue to be served in the same way under Sokol’s leadership as they had been for many years. in Tama.
“I have truly appreciated the opportunity my clients have given me to work with them over the past 33 years,” In other words. “I hope our mutual relationship has helped them achieve their financial goals.”
Else is from the Tama-Toledo community and in the late 1980s became the securities specialist for Tama State Bank until the bank transferred its charter to Marshalltown in 1996 to become the current Pinnacle Bank.
Around this time, Else went on his own and started the Tama Investment Center, which occupied an office on W 3rd Street in Tama for several years.
Else said the biggest change in the industry he has noted in his 33-year career is the financial regulations and compliance issues that have taken hold over the past decade.
“When I started, I guess my assistants and I spent maybe 10% of our time on compliance issues, things we need to do to stay compliant with regulators like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission”, In other words. “I guess we now spend about 30 or 40 percent of our time on these same issues. And I prefer to spend that time with my clients, rather than paperwork for compliance issues in an ever-changing environment.
Both Else and Sokol said one of the benefits of working with a local investment firm, especially in today’s technological age, is that clients can deal directly with people they know. but still have almost all of the same financial tools at their disposal as if they lived in Des Moines or Chicago.
“What is good, in my opinion, in a small community is that our reputation is paramount”, says Sokol. “Not only at work, but we see our customers at the grocery store and on the street, where in a big city like Des Moines you might not get that many.”
“These are people I grew up with” In other words. “I don’t want to have to turn my head when I walk down Main Street because these are people I’ve lived with all my life who care what happens to them.”
Else said one of the most rewarding aspects of her job was being able to see some of her clients achieve the financial goals they had worked together for some time.
“You have enabled clients to maintain a standard of living that they may not have known they could sustain at any given time. Because of what you’ve done for them over the past 25 years. And people don’t forget that. In other words.
For Sokol, the rewarding part of his job is the relationships and trust he has built with people and families around something as critical as their future financial security.
“We take care of people’s savings”, says Sokol. “So it’s not like we’re making a mistake, it’s just ‘sorry.’ that their goals are achieved, whether it’s growth or income, but there are no second chances.
As Else plans to retire in the coming weeks, he expects to spend more time on many traditional aspects of a well-deserved retirement such as golf, fishing, working on personal projects that have been set aside due to work as well as spending time at his family cabin.
Else said there were no immediate plans for the commercial building that previously housed Tama’s investment center.
Tama County Investment Services is located inside the State Bank of Toledo branch at 1003 S County Rd. in Toledo and can be reached at 641-484-2980.