While the fundamental principles of investment management do not change, it’s the application of those time-tested theories in light of what’s taking place in the real world that matters – and keeping a pulse on the many changes affecting financial markets today can be a daunting challenge.
That’s why it now takes so much more than a shrewd strategy to manage investments over time in order to help achieve your personal financial goals.
For the past 20 years, Oak Partners has been astutely managing a diverse pool of personal and/or business assets that their clients want to grow and preserve for future generations. Today, this venerable team takes great pride in the fact that they are entrusted with the management of more than $600 million for thousands of households across the US.
“As individuals, all of the partners started out with a particular niche,” Fred Ruiz, one of the five current partners at Oak Partners, said. “A few of us got started working with teachers and administrators – managing tax-sheltered annuities and group health plans for a number of local school systems. Another partner has more of an industrial – steel and refinery – background, while another focused on the needs of the healthcare industry for a time. These local households have been our client base since the very beginning. Now, I would say it’s everybody. Historically, as many as 80 percent of our new clients come from referrals. You have to remember that each client is really a household and often includes a spouse, children and/or the parents.”
Demonstrating their deep understanding of the need for financial strategies to change and adapt over time, Oak Partners has been serving clients in northwest Indiana since 1993. This homegrown team of professional wealth advisors is equally as proud of their region roots as they are experienced when it comes to the financial issues of greatest importance to their clients.
Including the partners, the team at Oak Partners is primarily comprised of proud Lake Central, Andrean, Merrillville and Crown Point High School graduates who earned advanced degrees from Indiana and Purdue Universities. Rivalries aside, this group shares their excitement and enthusiasm for closely monitoring financial markets on a daily basis and keeping abreast of major developments in the economy, market structure and globalization of these markets on behalf of their clients.
“Every client’s plan is different and dependent upon the individual investor’s needs and preference. Building and preserving wealth for retirement requires a keen understanding of the specific goals, concerns, timeline and risk tolerance that define a path for you to follow,” Oak Partners partner Mike Barancyk said. “It’s so important for you to be involved in every aspect of your financial plan. It’s far from a one-time event. That’s one of the key reasons why we employ a team approach here. Not only do you work closely with your personal advisor, there’s a team with three or four registered advisors working on your behalf that you’ll get to know as well.”
With the firm routinely growing in order to provide clients the best possible service, the partners made the decision to invest in brick and mortar several years ago.
“Our base is here in Crown Point so we wanted to create a comfortable environment where clients could meet with us and also interact with one another at social and educational events,” Oak Partners partner Marc Ruiz said. “Ironically, when we made the move from being a tenant in a larger complex to our own building, some of our longtime clients would ask who all the cars in the parking lot belonged to - it surprised them to see the breadth of our operation from that perspective.”
Helping Achieve Client Goals with Customized Solutions
Because wealth management involves more than investment management, Oak Partners also focuses on advanced planning needs such as wealth enhancement, wealth transfer, wealth protection and charitable giving. Since no single financial advisor can possibly provide all the expertise required to manage such a broad range of financial challenges, the unique team approach at Oak Partners also means the firm’s entire comprehensive network of financial professionals is always available to collaborate on a case-by-case basis.
“Investment management addresses wealth growth and preservation, while advanced planning looks at mitigating your tax burden, taking care of your heirs, protecting what matters most to you and making a difference in the world,” Oak Partners partner Jason Urbaniak said. “In keeping with our belief that ‘you can’t just set it and forget it,’ we suggest a minimum of two to four face-to-face team planning meetings with our clients each year as part of the foundation for their plan. Then, whenever a question or concern arises, clients can always reach someone they know personally who is also familiar with their portfolio and plan.”
“When it comes to your overall financial needs, we certainly have the experience to help keep you on track, and every plan we oversee is always highly-customized for the client,” Oak Partners partner Mario Ruiz added. “But what I think really sets us apart is the personal service you receive every step of the way. Starting with the fact that you reach a live person instead of a recording when you call the office during business hours to regular social events like our Oktoberfest get together this fall and the recent wine and chocolate holiday celebration, educational seminars ranging from a ‘How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft ‘ workshop to market updates from nationally recognized economists like Robert Stein (former assistant secretary for economic policy at the US Treasury Department) this year and Brian Westbury (a former chief economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress who appears regularly on Fox, Bloomberg, CNBC and BNN Canada TV) next year, plus our quarterly newsletter and weekly market updates, we’re always trying to keep our clients informed.”
Connecting with the Community
Just as their clients often support a cause or organization they care about, the group at Oak Partners is extremely philanthropic, giving both their time and resources to support a variety of local organizations, most recently including the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and Opportunity Enterprises.
Individually, they choose to volunteer as coaches and Board members, further impacting the local communities where they live and work.
Plus, as a natural progression from their in-house educational seminars, Oak Partners now expands their reach, providing timely information to people throughout northwest Indiana in print and over the airwaves:
• Partner Marc Ruiz contributes the column “Your Mind on Money” every Friday in The TIMES Business section.
• The Wealth Management Team hosts a radio show “Making Finance Personal” on WJOB 1230AM airing every Saturday at 9am and again Wednesdays at 2pm.
• Partners Mike Barancyk and Marc Ruiz plus Bridget Shoemaker and Clint Henry host a radio show “Your Mind on Money” on The Lakeshore 89.1 FM airing every Monday at 12noon and again at 6pm.
Securities and Advisory Services offered through SII Investments Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC a Registered Investment Advisor. Oak Partners, Inc. and SII are separate and unrelated Companies.