Meet the Partners! An Interview with Rob Bradley, CIMA®, CFP®

June 29, 2023
Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

Meet the Partners! An Interview with Rob Bradley, CIMA®, CFP®

We are very excited to announce that Rob Bradley, CIMA®, CFP® has joined Chicago Partners. Welcome to the team, Rob; we look forward to working with you!

Rob joined Chicago Partners, LLC in May of 2023. Formerly Rob was a founder and Chief Investment Officer of NorthLanding Financial Partners in Rochester, NY.

His clients depend on his oversight for personal, objective advice on investment allocation, retirement income, estate planning, and tax-related matters. He began his career as a retirement planning specialist with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in 1998, and still today, counts himself blessed to have completed his training in the firm's World Trade Center, South Tower offices.

The caring and knowledgeable approach he guides clients with has been developed and refined over his 25 years of advisory experience. Rob earned the Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner (CFP®) designation in 2003 and completed the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) curriculum through the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business executive education program in 2015. He graduated Cum Laude from Villanova University with a degree in Psychology.

We asked Rob a few questions about his background, wealth management philosophy, and advice he gives to investors.

How did you get into wealth management?

Well, the answer to that starts with an embarrassing story (I’ll spare our readers the gory details here.) I had interviewed for a job in financial services selling long-term care insurance with John Hancock. I didn’t feel very sure or confident that I wanted to recommend insurance for a living, and ended up flubbing the interview so very badly that I was walked out after about 10 minutes. Upon hearing the story of my epic failure, my brother-in-law mentioned that Morgan Stanley was also hiring entry-level financial advisor trainees. I got the interview and atoned for my prior performance.

The deeper answer, though, is because of my father. We grew up in a household of fairly limited means (my mother stayed home, and Dad was an English teacher and track coach at a Catholic school that paid him modestly.) It wasn’t until I was about 14 and saw my father’s retirement account statement that I realized he was actually “rich” – at least he sure looked that way to my teenage eyes. It was all because he had started investing in equities through TIAA-CREF in the 1970s as soon as the 403(b) retirement plan was created. The transformative effect that saving and investing wisely had on him and my mother – both were among the first in their families to graduate from college – left a deep impact on me. Working as an advisor lets me play a lead part in that process for others. For that reason, my work has always been a vocation to me. It’s never felt like a job. Thanks, Dad.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to working with your clients?

Instilling confidence and clarity. I feel most rewarded when careful planning and portfolio construction allows clients to relax and know their future is on a strong track. Capital markets are indeed fascinating, but when that can translate to real personal well-being for my clients and their families… wow. That feeling of accomplishment is what has kept me excited to go to work every day for the last 25 years.

How would you describe your wealth management philosophy?

Disciplined. The largest impact our work can have on clients is instilling discipline to save and invest their capital. Discipline to explore and analyze planning approaches beyond the basics. Most importantly the discipline to do nothing when nothing is the right thing to do, and to be patient, steady buyers during those inevitable time periods when panic grips both the headlines and capital markets.

What is the number one question you receive from clients and how do you usually respond?

Am I OK? In the final analysis, we are engaged in a field of practice where many critical inputs are simply unknowable – the future prices of assets, interest rates, or inflation… and the list could go on. As the famous investor Peter Lynch once said, “Future prices and interest rates are as unpredictable as the flight path of a butterfly.” When we can help our clients plan and see past the unknowns of asset prices and the future of the global economy to instead focus on their personal economy, we can answer that question for them clearly through financial modeling and planning.

What is the single most important thing for investors to keep in mind?

To concern themselves only with controlling the controllable. Markets will spasm, act irrationally, and be unpredictable. Our own emotions, behaviors, savings rates, and spending rates are the only things we can truly master.

What do you like to do outside of being an investment advisor?

I like very many things, from physical fitness to travel, to my 1980’s football card collection (of which I’m quite proud) and watching Buffalo Bills football and Villanova basketball with my wife, Carly. What I really love (outside of family and work) though, is coaching and personal development. Thankfully I had the opportunity to coach youth baseball for several years with my son, Quinn. I have always loved watching and helping younger advisors become seasoned and confident in their work. I am so happy to continue to have a chance to do that with some of the many exceptional associates at Chicago Partners.

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