34 INVESTMENT ADVISOR OCTOBER 2020 | ThinkAdvisor.com
Growing an advisory firm through a niche focus — on a specific profession, age group or gender — isn’t a new business strategy. But increasingly, advisors have honed target groups using their own back-
grounds and turned to online-based resources to both build
and grow these practices. Many advisors have focused on doc-
tors, lawyers and engineers as their client niche, for instance,
because these professionals usually are high-income earners.
Others leverage contacts from prior careers or training.
Computer science grad and former tech pro Mike Zung, CFP,
of Java Wealth Planning in Kansas City, Missouri, told Investment
Advisor that “I really enjoyed working in tech, loved the people,
and the pay and benefits were great. But I wanted to focus my time
and energy on work that I could look back and feel that I made a
tangible, positive impact on the world.” Thus, when he decided
to open an advisory firm, he targeted what he knew best: nerds.
Nick Giacoumakis, who founded New England Investment
& Retirement of North Andover, Massachusetts, and Naples,
Florida, grew up and worked in the construction business. As
a result, he’s focused his advisory group on clients such as gen-
eral contractors, subcontractors and their employees.
The advisor says his industry knowledge proved to be
invaluable over the years and especially during the pandemic.
Giacoumakis’ firm helped some clients cut through red tape
to sign up for the Paycheck Protection
Program and supported others looking
for bridge loans in the face of business
hiccups as contract deadlines loomed.
For his part, Zung has clients whose
compensation programs include stock
options in which “we have to dive pret-
ty deep into their tax situation and job
satisfaction along with the usual goals
planning,” he says. “And there’s a lot of
conversations around weighing the risk and reward that comes
with having so much comp tied to your company.”