Professional athletes have people they trust to manage their money. They also hire business managers to control finances, accounting, trust work, and day-to-day bill pay. But all too often we see many of these so-called trusted advisors breach that level of trust. The most important question, though, is “who is managing the advisors?” Financial advisors have intimate access to sizable assets and account numbers, and since statements are confusing and rarely looked at, it gives the advisors the opportunity to make questionable decisions. That is why a new company called HindsightPro is having much success working with high net worth individuals as that extra layer of needed protection, and the company believes that more and more athletes will be turning to HindsightPro as their financial firewall.
I recently sat down with Founder and CEO of HindsightPro, Gregg Damiano, to discuss his new venture.
Darren Heitner: Why did you Start HindsightPro?
Gregg Damiano: I started HindsightPro because a few of my friends were faced with making a huge decision with their money. They felt they were taking a leap of faith with a Financial Advisor, and had no one to talk to in order to find out if what they were doing was in their best interests. It was more than just stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They had more things presented to them, and after it was all said and done, the information was just to complex and way over their heads.
Darren Heitner: What type of services do you provide?
Gregg Damiano: Anything related to making a decision when it comes to working with a Financial Advisor. Our big thing right now is analyzing fees. Some fees are transparent, others are not, and we can tell when a Financial Advisor makes a recommendation that is purely motivated by the size of the commission. Once we review how an account is invested we can also work with our clients to help reduce the overall costs. Once these changes are implemented, it makes a huge difference in the overall performance because the costs are reduced forever, which over 10 to 20 years is substantial savings, and more money for retirement. Some of our other services include reviewing portfolio recommendations, reviewing monthly statements, helping to find the right financial advisor, and identifying if you should find a new financial advisor.
Darren Heitner: Are you a Financial Advisor?
Gregg Damiano: No, absolutely not. That is the biggest misconception of our firm. Our staff is comprised of former financial advisors, and product specialists from major Wall Street firms. In order for us to remain completely unbiased, we do not make any investment recommendations nor do we want to manage your money. In a nut shell, our role is to “Manage your Financial Advisor”. You hire us to make sure you are not putting your money with an incompetent salesman, and to keep an eye on it so that you don’t get sold or invest in something that can devastate your portfolio or retirement savings.
Darren Heitner: What type of clients do you work with?
Gregg Damiano: Pretty much anyone who takes advice from a Financial Advisor and has an account at an investment firm, whether you’re a professional athlete, doctor, attorney, business owner, widow, young professional, or young couple. We love to educate and we love helping people make the right decision and feel confident about it.
Darren Heitner: How is it working with athletes?
Gregg Damiano: That part of our business is growing and we are getting a lot of referrals. Lately, there have been a lot of athletes who are getting ripped off or just want peace of mind knowing their money is being managed properly. What we have found is that advisors who work with athletes try to live the same lifestyle, and thats where it becomes dangerous. Yes, athletes can have big mansions, fancy jewelry and Bentleys, but when your Financial Advisor strives for the same lifestyle, guess who pays for it.
Darren Heitner: Do you find a lot of questionable investments or recommendations in portfolios when it comes to athletes.
Gregg Damiano: Always. A recent case was with a top NFL draft pick this past year. It seems that the immediate recommendation for football players is an annuity. Primarily because it seems like a good fit – short career, income for life and the advisor gets 5-8%. While annuities aren’t all bad, it has to be appropriate. When he found out he could not touch his money until he was 59 1/2, as well as the tax implications and penalties, we advised him to enact the 10 day look back and cancel the order. He did so and he started over allowing us to go over everything before making a final decision. He still ended up doing an annuity, however the investment size was smaller and he was aware of all of the small print.
Darren Heitner: So is it safe to say Financial Advisors aren’t your biggest fan.
Gregg Damiano: Yes and no, and we don’t care. Any Financial Advisor will tell you that if they are doing the right thing they have nothing to worry about. As a matter of fact, we recently have had a Financial Advisor who works with NBA players encourage his clients to use HindsightPro. Because these guys have so many people soliciting them, HindsightPro reassures them their advisor is doing the right thing. We joke about it, but any Financial Advisor who doesn’t like us has something to hide. And it is an embarrassment to the industry, because at networking events when we tell Financial Advisors what we do, more times than none we get the same response, and that is “I hope my clients don’t call you”. And that tells me one thing – there will always be a need for HindsightPro.
Darren Heitner: How do agents feel about your service?
Gregg Damiano: We are making a strong push to work with agents and to give them a discount to our service for their clients. There is a fine line when it comes to agents and a player’s finances, but they are realizing that our service protects their clients and keeps them from being misled by bad advice.
Darren Heitner: So how are you different from business managers, accountants, and other centers of influence?
Gregg Damiano: Aside from educating and helping to make the right financial decisions, we are truly a fiduciary. We have no skin in the game, no kick backs, and no hidden fees. While business managers have various responsibilities, we have two. 1) we manage the financial advisor, and 2) we review statements monthly. These are our only responsibilities, so we never get distracted with anything else.
Darren Heitner: How does someone get in touch with your company?
Gregg Damiano: Easily either at www.hindsightpro.com, or call our office (214) 702-1580.