FREE 10.2 Q&A – Anthony Tripi
Finding that Frequency
Way up in Niagara Falls, AP affiliated advisor Anthony Tripi is paying heed to his life’s callings— providing both sound investment advice and guitar-driven soulful rock songs to the community at large. His more than 20 years of industry experience has evolved into a successful practice with a core team dedicated to helping people make wise decisions about their financial futures. Upon joining AP in 2005, Tripi was pleased to form a bond with fellow colleagues, as well as the firm’s unique independent culture. His band is set to release a follow up to 2015’s “Big Medicine”—a full-length album of songs penned by Tripi himself. In this interview, Tripi shares his thoughts about changes the industry is facing and how creativity, in no small part, permeates every aspect of his life.
FREE: Why did you decide to go into the financial services industry?
ANTHONY TRIPI: My wife’s father was in the business and I had an opportunity to go into the insurance side and learn the business. I’m really happy that it worked out so well.
FREE: Tell us about why you decided to become affiliated with AP and what your transition was like. AT: I was used to an independent culture at my prior firm. When we were bought out, it took on a different feel. A lot of advisors were moving to AP. I met [AP financial advisor] Bob Bartolotta and we got along really well; he’s had a major impact on the growth of my team. I’d heard so many great things about AP. [AP CEO] Lon Dolber and Bob flew up to Niagara Falls to meet with me and we spent most of that meeting talking about raising teenage daughters, who both happened to play hockey. I knew right then that this was the place I needed to be. I was with people who thought like me and were experiencing things like me.
FREE: Your practice is flourishing. To what do you attribute its success and what’s an average day-in-the-life like at ATT Financial Group?
AT: There are always interesting and exciting opportunities that show up. I have a great team; I always attribute the success to having such a talented and skilled team. They really care about the clients and making sure people’s lives are put together financially. The clients rely more and more on me and the team and, as that’s been happening, the opportunities have just blown up for us. We’ve been getting a tremendous amount of referrals in the last two years. We’re very fortunate.
FREE: What are your goals when it comes to nurturing client relationships?
AT: Like most advisors, we want to help educate our clients. I want to inoculate them from fear and anxiety. My primary focus is to help alleviate and turn down some of the volume—to help them get rid of the static. Frankly, I think when given the appropriate information, most people make incredibly wise decisions. Most people think they don’t understand how to make financial transactions; they just haven’t been presented with information in an organized way so they can make informed decisions. I think what sets us apart is that we organize information for people so they can feel empowered to make the right decisions. They have the confidence and knowledge, but maybe they’ve forgotten it. We’re there to guide them.
FREE: Recent regulatory changes to the financial services industry—more specifically, as it relates to DOL and the fiduciary ruling on retirement accounts—are beginning to have an impact on the way investment professionals conduct business. How is ATT Financial Group positioned to handle these changes?
AT: We’ll make adjustments on what type of services we’ll provide, but the real value exists in the client relationship. It’s understanding the aptitude that advisors bring to the table—that can’t be packaged and it can’t be legislated. How I interact with my clients shouldn’t change just because the rules are changing. It may change how we open accounts and how we charge fees, and that’s fine. I don’t think it will change the client relationship. We’re going to be able to do more and focus more on how to help people and grow our relationships with them.
FREE: How is AP supporting you in your practice?
AT: As long as I’ve known him, I’ve heard two main commitments from Lon: one, staying independent; and two, how the advisors are the clients. I really do feel that AP is there in support of me and my practice. It’s not just talk. They help with due diligence on fund managers, and they provide technology and compliance support.
FREE: You interact a great deal with fellow AP advisors. Why do you feel that’s important?
AT: That’s where the rubber really meets the road. Wholesalers, business coaches, friends and family members will tell you how to run your business, but until somebody has sat in that seat, they don’t know what it’s like to meet with clients on a retail basis and run a practice. There’s a very unique individual that fits that model. That’s the thing with Lon. He ran his own book, was a manager and is an executive, so he’s still in touch with those things; the same as with Bob. I’m lucky to be surrounded by people with that type of insight.
FREE: You also share a love for music with Lon. Tell us how the Anthony Tripi Band was formed?
AT: The band started with my brothers when I was a kid. I joined the Coast Guard when I was 18. By the time I came home four-and-a-half years later, I had a bunch of songs written. I got my brothers back together and we played for years around town. Then we started businesses and got married and had kids. About seven to 10 years ago, I started getting serious again. The first AP conference I went to in 2005, I had my guitar and another advisor had his harmonica, and we sat in the hallway just jamming. I remember looking up and Lon was there hanging out with us while we were hacking away at Doors’ and Stones’ songs. I thought, “How cool!” I found out later he was a bass player.
FREE: So many AP advisors are engaged in creative pursuits. Do you see a commonality between creativity and finance?
AT: Exploring my creative side really enhances my financial planning practice. At one point, I thought those things had to remain separate. I’ve come to realize that’s not the case; they can support each other. People think of advisors as numbers people. I think advisors are extraordinarily creative people; if you sit and talk to them long enough, you’ll hear a creative side. They’ll talk about how they built their practices or what new ideas they’re using to communicate with clients. It requires creativity in order to run a practice.
FREE: Can you share a moment in your life when you’ve seen your music have an impact on people?
AT: I was in Ashville, N.C., and performed a song I’d written about a breakup. Afterwards, a woman came up to me with tears in her eyes. She didn’t say anything, she just threw her arms around me.
FREE: There’s probably no better compliment for a songwriter…
AT: Making women cry, that’s what I do [laughter]. I’m joking. Music ties us to something. Some people might call it a coincidence when, say, you’re walking through a parking lot and you hear a song and you think of someone. I don’t particularly think that those kinds of things are coincidental. I think it’s some type of frequency that we dial into. Just like music you dial in on a radio station; you’re picking up a frequency. I think the same thing happens to people in the spiritual sense. When people feel connected to each other, when we feel a sense of oneness and completeness and comfort, it’s because we’re dialed in. We’ve found that frequency.
FREE: You have a strong commitment to community outreach and participate in the motorcade for World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Face of America rides. How has being socially responsible had an effect on both your personal and business life?
AT: Going down there each year and seeing people perform for each other is a big deal. Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen people come from all over the place: military, ex-military, the able-bodied and the disabled; I’m glad to be part of these kinds of events. We do a lot of community service up here on a smaller scale, playing gigs to raise money for a local hospice and for recovering drug addicts. Recently, we played at a fundraiser to help a local firefighter whose home burned down. My practice has also offered free financial planning services to local veterans. I have a tag line in my music newsletters that says, “Make More Love = Bring More Peace.” If more people talk about kindness, compassion and peace, you notice those things more. It’s out there; we just need to raise our voices a little bit.
FREE: You participated in Dr. Srikumar Rao’s weekend retreats. What was your impression of the workshop?
AT: Dr. Rao’s program packages things in a way that makes practicing mindfulness easy to grab ahold of. He reminds you that it’s not just fluff— these are practices that help. Some people say that motivational speeches don’t last; well, a shower doesn’t last either, but you have to keep repeating it on a regular basis [laughter].
FREE: That’s fantastic! I’m stealing that. As you know, this issue of FREE is tied to “thankfulness.” What are you most thankful for?
AT: When I’m present and remember what an amazing life that I’m allowed to be part of—in every aspect. Stop and think for a second about how incredibly extraordinary it is that we’re on a rock, spinning in space. When I remember to stay in that moment—that presence and mindfulness—that’s probably the thing I’m most grateful for.
It’s a real gift.
FREE: I have to say this interview has been truly inspiring, Tony. It’s been great talking with you.
AT: Oh, Nicole, you say that to everybody [laughter].
FREE: You got me [laughter] … but, seriously, thank you.
AT: Thanks. I appreciate it.