A History of Success
A History of Success
Hiram “Chip” Hutchison has deep roots in this town.
For nearly six generations his family has lived in and helped build York County. It’s a legacy of trust that he honors to this day as a top finiancial advisor. – by Frank Maselli
Your family has a fascinating history in this part of the country. Take us back to the beginning for a minute.
My family sailed across the ocean to the “new world” in 1773. They settled right here in York County on the banks of the Catawba River at the Old Nation Ford Road. The road was part of the famous “Great Philadelphia Wagon Road” and it started out as an Indian path at the shallow part of the river. It eventually turned into a major “super highway” due to the many Scots-Irish families that settled here in the Piedmont of the Carolinas. I am the sixth generation of Hutchisons living on the same property.
And some of your ancestors were early financial advisors.
Yes…court documents from the early 1800′s show that David Hutchison was named executor of estates by helping widows sort things out after the loss of a spouse. David’s oldest son, Hiram Hutchison, my namesake, was a modern banker of his time. In the 1840′s he spearheaded the effort to build one of the first hydro-powered cotton textile factories in the south. He also convinced his family and friends to invest in the modern technology stocks of his day…a little thing called railroads! Needless to say, he became very wealthy. He spent the last part of his life as a New York banker and is buried in the old Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.
Your great grandfather was actually the mayor of Rock Hill.
Yes, William Campbell Hutchison was mayor in the early 20th century. He was involved in may business and civic activities in the community. His brother David was president of the first bank in town – Rock Hill Savings Bank.
So in a way, you are carrying on the family tradition as an advisor.
Serving this community to make it a better place is in my blood. My family has been part of this community for six generations and I plan to stick around to continue the legacy.
Tell us about the Hutchison Group.
We are a team of professionals with a simple but critical mission – to help lead our clients toward financial independence. As an independent practice, we have a planning process that focuses on four main areas: maximizing retirement benefits, managing debt, health and life insurance needs, and of course, helping clients with investments.
How did you get started?
I started in the banking business working at Rock Hill National Bank out of college in 1985 and acquired my securities license in 1993. As an investment representative,I spent most of my career building a strong client base inside of a bank or credit union. Debbie and I started working together in 2005 and Parker joined a couple of years later. Parker started his career at Prudential Securities and brought a strong insurance background to the practice.
You say you are a “team of professionals”, what does that mean?
It means that our clients get all three of us together as a team…not just one person. Some other advisory teams will assign each client to one specific person, but we found it to be much more valuable to our clients when everyone on the team is up to speed on their needs and financial situation. This way we are all involved in the process of providing solutions and solving problems.
So three heads are better than one.
Absolutely…especially in today’s extremely complex environment! Each client gets the expertise of three distinct professionals all working toward the same goal. It’s very powerful.
Give me an example of how your “team approach” works.
It is an important part of our commitment to have our clients come in and sit with us on an ongoing basis. Debbie takes great care of our clients. She handles any administrative issues that may arise and most critically, she sets up the annual and semi-annual meetings. Then Debbie and I sit with each client to make sure they completely understand the strategies we’re recommending.
During these meetings we often discover the need to make changes. A change can be client driven, a new product development or a shift in economic conditions. This is when Parker steps in. He does our research and stays on top of the ever-changing development of financial solutions. He is the architect of our way of building strategies for our clients.
Parker also handles the transition of new clients to our practice. Parker and I sit together with the new client to collect the information needed to complete a thorough financial inventory. He gathers the data and builds a report, giving all of us a clear financial picture of the current standing for each client. Once all the data is confirmed, Parker builds the strategies for my review so we can explain the implementation to the client.
I lead the team, but with Debbie and Parker doing what they do, I can do what I enjoy most – developing closer relationships with my clients. What gets really exciting is when our clients use us to help others.
To help others, how so?
Today, there is so much confusion and lack of trust that many folks don’t know where to turn for help. Because of the relationships we build with our clients and the depth of our process, it’s natural for clients to want to share their experience with others.
So they tell their friends?
Yes…and it’s a wonderful feeling. I truly believe our clients value our leadership and commitment to have a relationship based on integrity to do what is right for them in helping them achieve financial independence.
When a client wants to help others with an introduction to your practice, how is it handled?
We take these introductions very seriously and it’s one of my most important tasks. When someone is introduced to us, we first need to get to know each other better. During this “introduction phase,” we talk about their expectations of the relationship. We discuss our process and compensation. We’re basically looking for a good fit. Not everyone will become a client, but everyone introduced to us will be helped in some way. The commitment we make to our clients is that even if we can’t help the people you introduce to us, we will point them in the right direction.
What do you mean you’re looking for “a good fit”? It sounds like some kind of exclusive club.
We don’t want to sound like we are “exclusive” but our time is the most valuable thing we have to offer. That’s why we are totally focused on our clients and the people they introduce to us. We do not waste time mass marketing.
What does your ideal client look like?
Our ideal client is not necessarily someone with lots of money. It is someone that values a professional relationship with a financial advisory team and has a good “chemistry” connection with us. That is why we take the time to get to know each other before we move forward in the relationship.
So it is just the three of you?
Yes, but we do have strategic relationships with a select group of other private independent practices here in our community. We work with several CPA firms to help our clients with taxes. We work with estate attorneys to help with wills and legacy planning. And, we work with local insurance agencies to help with the rapidly changing issues we face with health insurance. We believe that we are more effective helping our clients as a group than trying to handle issues without each other. It is very powerful alliance.
You were recently interviewed in Advisor Today Magazine and you stressed the need to listen carefully to your clients and build trust. In an era where trust is scarce, how do you validate your client’s trust with your practice?
By doing what we say and focusing on what is the best for our clients.
My family has been here a long time, so it is ingrained in me to serve this community with integrity. Our clients trust us because we put ourselves on the same side of the table as they are. We are not here just to execute transactions. We are not a group of sales people that has to meet a monthly “quota”.
I am a firm believer that trust is the glue that holds any relationship together. Without it, our client relationships simply would not exist. Without clients, we would not exist. Trust is the foundation of our practice, so we simply cannot afford to take it for granted.
You seem to be having fun. That doesn’t seem normal for many advisors today.
We are having fun and I think it’s because we have a clear vision of what we do for our people. That clarity makes it much easier for us to help our clients make smart decisions…and that’s tremendous fun! There is a famous saying by Zig Ziglar that has always resonated with me. “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Thats basically what we try to do every day and there is a very real joy that comes from helping others.
Also, why not laugh? I have no idea what our economic future looks like. We are bombarded by a news media that preys off of fears. Broadcasting “doom and gloom” gets people’s attention and that increases ratings. Therefore, it is better to laugh than cry. We are blessed to live in a free country that has seen ups and downs. It is the true American spirit that is inside all of us that will get us through tough times.
But it seems that many investors are confused and scared.
There’s no doubt about that. But we try to help our clients understand that it’s still possible to make careful, intelligent decisions and take thoughtful action in an effort to reach their financial goals. Confusion and fear can lead to financial paralysis…and that’s almost always the wrong decision.
You have an interesting motif in your logo. Does the “Arrowhead” have any significance?
My grandfather had a dairy farm in the 1920′s and 30′s called “Arrowhead Dairy Farm”. I live in the house today that he built. I understand from family history there was a great Indian War on our property between the Catawba Indian Nation and the Cherokees about 350 years ago. Today, we can still find arrowheads lying around. My dad has quite an impressive collection. The Arrowhead is the Hutchison family logo.
Coming from six generations of entrepreneurs must give you an interesting perspective on the economy and on running a successful advisiory practice. Talk about that.
I think it’s given me a sense of tremendous possibility and of opportunity. I am certainly an enthusiastic believer in the “American Dream” and I am trying to do my small part in helping others achieve their dreams. There have been many economic cycles and growing pains in this community over the past six generations. My family stuck around through it all. It has taught me that patience, hard work and perserverance do pay off. For me, the best part of all that history is that it makes you part of something bigger than just yourself. I truly care about what happens to the people in this town. It’s a legacy that empowers my business to this day, and I’m very proud to serve my clients.