The Capitol Bay Group

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The Capitol Bay Group
A financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

John Yetman, CIMA Financial Advisor, Managing Director
Adam Goddard, CPA, PFS, Financial Advisor, Managing Director

John Yetman and Adam Goddard believe that knowledge is power. From this premise, and by focusing intently on ethics, education and a client-centered approach, they have built their wealth management firm, The Capitol Bay Group, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. This focus affords Yetman and Goddard the opportunity to work with clients who hold the same values — primarily business owners in need of tailored advisory services — and employers who truly care about providing services in the same manner.

Q: What is The Capitol Bay Group all about? What kinds of services do you provide?

A: The Capitol Bay Group works with the CEOs of private middle-market companies. We help them grow their business, align their business and personal goals and, at the right time, work with investment bankers and others to help them monetize their business and manage their wealth. In addition to the owners of the business, we provide services to the company as well. These services include cash management strategies, employee retention strategies, retirement plans such as 401(k), ESOP programs, buy-sell agreements, insurance and risk management planning, and executive financial planning and financial wellness for employees.

Q: When you and Adam were talking about starting this firm, what was your goal?

A: Back when we started in the financial services business, we were pretty much stockbrokers with an assistant. Then, as the financial world become more complex, it was difficult for one person to be an expert in every single area. We decided after a few years that providing value to higher end-clients, higher-net-worth clients, we really needed to assemble a specialized team. This included estate planning, tax solutions, wealth management solutions and financial planning. We also felt that we needed three things to serve clients in that environment: people, process and platform. Our philosophy was, let’s expand beyond that nuclear inner circle to a next level. For us, that next level is something we started as founding members of a nonprofit called the Association for Enterprise Growth. This group gives professionals from multiple business areas a network of resources to utilize when a client need arises. That nonprofit has grown to three cities now: DC, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Q: You recently changed parent firms. What spurred this shift and how will Ameriprise Financial help you take The Capitol Bay Group to even greater heights? A: Ameriprise is the leader in financial planning, with more Certified Financial Planners than any other firm. Our view is that financial planning is the basis for our other recommendations and gives us a document to set goals and track progress towards those goals. The firm is a Fortune 200 company with a great balance sheet and was willing to support our efforts of outreach to CEOs.

Q: What are some of the things owners should consider when trying to monetize their business?

A: View their company from the buyer’s perspective. Have all the value drivers of the business tight. These value drivers include areas such as management, profit margins, financial reporting, intellectual property, top-line revenue growth — have processes well defined. Lock in your key employees. Review all of your exit options — these include sale to private equity, synergistic buyer, to the employees or management and gifting to children, among others. Begin with the end in mind — what are you really trying to accomplish, both from a business and personal side? Many people wait too long to monetize and pay a steep price on their personal goals. Run a financial plan using a range of values from your business — what number do you need from your business to meet your personal goals? To transition your business, three things need to happen — you need to be ready, your business needs to be ready and the market needs to be ready.

Q: What kind of people do you look for to come into your firm, to interact with your clients?

A: All of our team members must have high ethics, be personable and passionate. The service team needs to be people who care and are really organized. Then on the planning and management side, I look for people who are like accountants. My partner and I both have accounting degrees, and we feel this gave us the foundation for this work. We look for people who are really intellectually curious, read a lot, do continuing education and have accreditations. It’s true that knowledge is power.

Q: If you could give one free piece of advice on wealth management, what would it be?

A: The best piece of advice is to be contrarian and control your emotions. John Templeton said, “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria.” Many investors give in to panic or popular decisions and their investment patterns follow the market’s peaks and valleys. Unfortunately, some retirement portfolios never recover from these “valleys.” If individual investors can overcome investment choices that are guided by fear or even greed, they would make better and more informed investment decisions, which in my opinion is a fundamental step towards great retirement planning.

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