Making it Personal
When you look for an adviser to manage your investment or insurance needs, you want someone who's looking out for your best interests rather than their own bottom line. Someone you can relate to. Someone you trust. Rafik Ghazal, CEO and founder of Guardian Solutions, LLC in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, aims to be that person. And when he left Bankers Life and Casualty after a four-year run, Rafik knew that if he wanted to provide his clients with the level of service and support necessary to achieve his goal, his next step couldn't be with another large insurance firm: "The only way to help my clients out was to not work for a company," he said of branching out on his own. In fact, the move away from a corporate environment was already partially underway before he left Bankers. He'd launched the investments portion of Guardian Solutions while still at Bankers, which made his decision to break away to start out on his own a bit easier.
"A cornerstone of financial planning is the recognition that everyone's economic and life situation is unique," reads the Guardian Solutions website. "Personalized service is essential when matching clients with the right financial products and services." And that's what makes the Guardian Solutions approach different from many of the larger insurance and investment firms: It's personal. "It's just how I practice my business," said Rafik in regards to what separates Guardian from the competition, "I focus on the clients. I don't focus on what my wholesalers want to sell."
In fact, Rafik notes that Guardian Solutions will only use wholesalers when it's required to do so. And, he explains, Guardian Solutions only grows with the client: "We have no affiliation with a broker dealer, so in regards to securities and money management, we receive no compensation or commission for trades (buying / selling securities for clients). Our business model allows us to grow when our clients grow."
From investments and insurance to finance management and business succession planning, Rafik understands the challenges of financial planning for those in or approaching retirement. But rather than simply assess a portfolio — something he's well equipped to handle with both Series 7 and Series 66 certifications — he wants to understand the goals of each client so he can make recommendations and his clients can feel knowledgeable enough to make decisions. "After meeting to [discuss your needs], you are better informed when the time comes to choose from a comprehensive suite of products and services and select those that address your unique situation." While Rafik himself is well equipped to do this, he also knows the importance of having a team he can rely on.
At present, that team includes three people: Rafik, one sub-agent, and an executive assistant, but Guardian Solutions is set to grow by the addition of a partner agent in the coming months. And if business continues as it has been, there's room for growth in the future as well. But new members need to be a good fit. "It's not difficult to find someone who shares [our vision]," says Rafik about growing the team, "but it is difficult to find someone who's willing to execute and work to achieve that vision." And when the client comes well before the profit, it's a vision worth working toward.
For more information, visit http://www.guardiansolutionsnj.com/.
Guardian Solutions, LLC
923 Haddonfield Rd Suite 300
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Phone: (856) 528-3301
E-mail: [email protected]