Joseph P. Biondo is CIO and CEO of Biondo Investment Advisors, a comprehensive financial services firm specializing in proprietary asset management he founded alongside his father in 2004. Headquartered in Milford, Pa., With a satellite office in Sparta, NJ, the firm manages More than $ 800 million of client assets and provides holistic financial planning, wealth management, and thoughtful financial counsel.
Russ Alan Prince: What sets Biondo Investment Advisors apart from the competition in the industry?
Joseph Biondo: I think one of the biggest differentiators is our approach to investments. Many advisors these days are primarily focused on gathering assets and content to outsource the actual investment management to mutual fund companies, passive ETFs, or some other entity. We’re not interested in the latest Wall Street thinking or this year’s hot mutual fund. We conduct our own research on individual equities and bonds in-house and get to know the companies and their management before we buy.
We back up our ideas with our own money. We invest right alongside our clients and that’s something that really resonates with people. They like knowing that we have a vested interest in the decisions and the counsel that we provide.
My father’s founding philosophy was, “I’m smart enough to identify the companies that I want to own for my clients and myself. I’m not going to trade them; I’m going to buy them and hold them for the long term. ” That’s why we get our hands dirty doing research the old-fashioned way. We take the time to visit with the management of companies we’re interested in. We dissect their balance sheets and attend industry conferences to get more information. We put a tremendous effort into understanding individual companies before making the decision to add them to client portfolios. Our ultimate goal is to change people’s lives for the better.
Prince: What’s the secret to building a successful financial practice so far outside one of the major metropolitan areas?
Biondo: We like to say we combine small town, working-class values coupled with Wall Street sophistication and expertise. Biondo Investment Advisors proves that you can build a substantial advisory business in just about any market if you go about it in the right way. In our case, I think that comes down to two things: reputation and community involvement.
Obviously, it takes time to build a reputation. Our firm has its roots in the practice my father started in Port Jervis, NY. If you do the right thing for people, the word gets around. By the time we launched Biondo Investment Advisors in 2004, he was well known and respected for his investment acumen and devotion to clients. Over the last 18 years, we’ve continued to build on that reputation.
The second thing that’s helped our firm to thrive is our involvement in the community. Giving back is ingrained in our culture. On an annual basis, aside from what any of us do as individuals, we budget toward supporting local charities and participating in their fundraisers, and acting as a sponsor for different events.
We’re still rooted in the region where we started, along the Delaware River where New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania meet. But as long-time clients have spread the word, we’ve also grown beyond that. We have a pocket of clients in Kansas City, New England, Bergen County, and Florida because clients have moved and evangelized for us.
Prince: What are the benefits and drawbacks of mixing family and business?
Biondo: For me personally, mixing family and business has been a tremendous advantage. I was literally raised in this business. When I was a kid, I would go to my dad’s office after school and retrieve ticker-tape quotes for the traders. Although he only graduated from high school, he wanted me to aim higher and gave lots of encouragement while I was earning a degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
My father created our methodology and our culture, which is very family-oriented. We’ve developed a way of doing business that works for us and our clients and we’re not going to deviate from that. We are all committed to the same set of values and ethics. Everyone who works here is treated like a member of the family and so are our clients. And because our interests are totally aligned with theirs, the clients tend to feel that way too.
I really don’t think there have been very many disadvantages in terms of working with my father because we agree on what’s most important and that is taking care of others. He’s been extremely generous in sharing his knowledge and experience with me and everyone else here. There are five partners in this firm, and we make important decisions by committee. If there are varying viewpoints on certain topics, everyone gets a chance to weigh in and then we come to a consensus.
Above all, I think that among the advantages of working in a multi-generational business is continuity and stability. For clients, in addition to good advice and investment management, there’s comfort in the knowledge that they are dealing with real people who really care about them and not a faceless, impersonal institution.
Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs and select professionals.
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