Mark Wilkins never thought he’d want to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Rick, and work in the financial services industry.
“When Mark was in high school, he told me he never wanted to do anything in his life that had anything to do with money,” chuckles Rick, a financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management in Denver.
But after working with a pension consulting firm after college, Mark started to come around to the idea, and after a long conversation with Rick in 2008 decided that he wanted to join his dad’s team.
Ten years later, they’re still going strong.
Rick and Mark are one of many parent-child advisor pairs working at RBC Wealth Management and illustrative of a growing trend at the firm where employees are bringing the people they love into the business they love. Dick Kelley, Frank Fawcett, Terry Buzzell and Arthur McCarthy are also sharing their passion for what they do by bringing their adult children into their business, creating a family legacy for themselves and furthering the family-like culture that RBC Wealth Management is so well known for.
While working with family has its challenges, Rick and Mark Wilkins say one of the clear benefits is getting to know each other on a whole new level.
Rick and Mark Wilkins
“Most kids don’t get the chance to see their dads every day when they are grown and have their own careers,” Mark says. “So the thing I love the most is simply seeing my dad on a consistent basis.”
For Rick, the ability to watch his son grow not only as a person but as a professional has been rewarding.
“I’m very proud of the work Mark is doing, and the man – as well as father – he has become,” Rick adds.
When he was a teenager, Omaha, Nebraska financial advisor Rick Kelley made it pretty clear how he felt about his dad Dick’s career.
“Rick told me that he did not want to work as hard as I did, and he did not want to be in this business,” Dick says.
That’s according to Dick, at least – Rick doesn’t remember having that specific conversation. Regardless, he started his own career on a different path, working for a few years in the mortgage industry before eventually deciding he wanted something more stable.
“With a young growing family, I approached my dad about the prospects of joining his team,” Rick says.
Dick and Rick Kelley
In the 12 years since, the partnership has worked well. Rick has learned from his father’s 50 years in the financial services industry (40 of which have been with RBC Wealth Management), while he has helped Dick update the team’s business model.
“I love working with Rick,” Dick says. “He brings a different viewpoint to our team, and that has been beneficial to our growth. We have had very few disagreements, and when we do, we solve the issue quickly.”
It’s a good thing, then, that teenage Rick ended up being wrong.
“Fortunately, he changed his mind,” Dick says.
Frank Fawcett and Terry Buzzell, former RBC Wealth Management financial advisors in the Rochester, Minnesota office, retired in 2018 after spending 25 years working together. As they started to think about how to transition their business, the two men, friends since childhood, thought of their children, financial advisors Matt Buzzell and Kylie Strum.
Matt joined from the aerospace and defense industry in 2011. Kylie was hired in 2003, several years after she interned with Terry and Frank while in college. For both families, the chance to work together was both personally and professionally rewarding. “How many people get a chance to strengthen their bond with their son every day?” says Terry. Matt echoes that sentiment.
“The thing I enjoyed most about working with my dad was the quality time together,” Matt says. “We got to experience each other’s critical thinking and analytical sides, bounce ideas off each other, and collaborate for the benefit of clients and the business.”
Terry Buzzell, Matt Buzzell, Kylie Strum and Frank Fawcett
That’s also how it was for Frank and Kylie, who both valued the chance to spend every day together.
“I always knew Kylie had growth and success within her,” Frank says. “Watching it happen day by day was fun, satisfying, and made me so proud.”
“Working on a team in general is great, but when that team is comprised of your family, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Kylie adds.
In the Danvers, Massachusetts branch, Arthur McCarthy never expected any of his sons – let alone all three – to join his business. But over the years, they all came on board, one-by-one.
Brian was first, joining Arthur’s firm right out of college in the mid-1980s. He didn’t work with Arthur initially, but instead learned the business by working on the equity trading desk, the IRA department and back office operations. Eventually he joined Arthur’s team, and they’ve spent the last 35 years working together.
A few years later in the early 1990s, John joined the team, and in 2004 Art came on board after a 20-year career in management consulting and banking.
The McCarthy family
“There was never a specific plan for all of us to work together,” Arthur says. “It just happened.”
Though the family business was unexpected, the arrangement has proven to be effective, with each McCarthy bringing a different skillset.
“We complement each other in many ways,” Brian says. “Altogether, we share a great business, with many thanks to dad who has been a fantastic band leader for many years.”
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