The Silicon Review
Individuals from all walks of life work to accumulate money and assets to live off of them during their retirement and later pass it on to their children. But managing assets and savings for retirement is something that people without a financial background can sometimes be challenged with. Even if they have a financial background, complex financial situations or unique family dynamics can create situations that call for professional help. This is where asset managers and investment consultants come into play. As the name suggests, these professionals have expertise and can bring insights to a variety of wealth-related issues and most often have industry credentials to boot. Consulting wealth managers for advice on how to invest or make plans for a secure financial future for yourself or loved ones, is arguably the best decision one can take. It helps in planning retirement, enhances savings, provides lasting financial security and can help leave your legacy whether to children or a cherished non-profit organization.
One of the oldest and most prestigious companies for trust and wealth management is based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Trust Point was established in 1913. The firm was then known as La Crosse Trust Company and was founded with an aim to help individuals and business owners manage their assets and administer their trusts. The company has come a long way since then.
In the early 1900s, the citizens of La Crosse, Wisconsin had no trust company within 80 miles to assist them with their hard-earned assets and to help settle their estates. It was then that a few professionals connected to the local banking industry took up the initiative and founded the La Crosse Trust Company. It was well received and grew rapidly.
As the years went by, business blossomed and the management team decided to extend the services to add retirement and profit sharing plans, tax planning and investment management. By the 1950s, Trust Point’s portfolio had grown substantially and it enjoyed a healthy reputation.
The 1980s saw the company add 401(K) plans and IRAs, surpassing $225 million of assets under management. As the end of the first decade of the 21st century came to a close, the company surpassed a staggering $1 billion of assets under management. With this phenomenal growth came physical expansion as well. In 2003, the Company opened a full-service office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This regional expansion led to a name change in 2008 to Trust Point Inc. Just last year, another full-service office location was added in Eau Claire, WI to help serve the expanding client base.
Being in business for well over a century, the firm has had to overcome obstacles, mostly in the form of market fluctuations over the decades. The only way it could overcome all the hurdles and survive amidst stiff competition was a strict adherence to its founding principles, core values, and its guiding philosophy. It put the interests of its clients above everything else and carried out its activities based on how the outcome would best suit their clients. An excellent example of its solid resolve would be its conduct in March of 1933 when the depression hit and President Roosevelt declared a national bank holiday. However, the La Crosse Trust Company remained open to give its clients access to their money, at a time when people in the country were struggling with an acute shortage of liquid cash. This projected an image of unwavering discipline and strength in the financial markets.
The company adheres to three principles which form the basis of its business outlook:
Tailored client engagement: This means that the team at Trust Point assesses each of its clients individually and customizes its services as per the clients’ requirement. It nurtures a long-term working relationship founded on trustworthiness.
Specialized expertise: Trust Point is uniquely positioned to offer the services of experienced, credentialed professionals who bring deep insight into a large number of wealth-management issues from a variety of perspectives.
Accountability and attention: Trust Point is committed to the highest levels of accessibility and responsiveness for their clients. Transparency and ongoing communication allows clients to feel the comfort of working in a trusted relationship.
Trust Point today has over $4.5 billion in assets under management and delivers all the capabilities of the premier firms at Wall Street, with the human touch and personal attention of a local company.
Furthermore, as a part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), Trust Point implements a number of initiatives to make a positive impact in the surrounding community. All employees are encouraged to actively participate in organizations outside of the financial realm, from school boards to nonprofit organizations to youth activities; just about every employee can rattle off multiple affiliations. A major initiative of Trust Point in recent years, was the decision to ‘adopt-a-school’. The firm provided North Woods International Elementary School in La Crosse, WI, volunteers from the staff to tutor and read to the children; assist teachers with grading papers, and help with school beautification projects. Trust Point also contributed financial resources to curriculum training and student material expenses. However, the best opportunity to put a smile on the children’s faces came when Trust Point treated the entire school to a day at the movies, complete with transportation and plenty of movie snacks.
Meet The Maverick behind Trust Point’s Amazing Growth, Kent Handel, CEO
Kent joined Trust Point in 2001 as president and CEO. An Iowa native, Kent has a bachelor’s degree in business University in Chicago, as well as the National Graduate School of Banking at UW-Madison, and the National Investment School at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa. Before joining Trust Point, he worked for nearly 20 years in various management positions at Security National Bank in Sioux City.
Kent is active in several community organizations, including serving on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse and as a director of the La Crosse Club. He is also on the Board of Trustees of Viterbo University and has served as its Chairman. Additionally, he has served on the Boards of Chileda, Family and Children's Center, Aptiv, and a number of other great local organizations.