Getting to Know Your Allegiant Team: Ben Jones

APA Jones 3x4LOAs a Principal and Chief Investment Officer at Allegiant Private Advisors, Benjamin W. Jones, CFP®, AIF, is responsible for establishing the firm’s overall investment strategy, security selection, portfolio management, and research activities. Since joining the firm in 2005, we suspect you have come to know Ben through our market update presentations as well as his Monthly Insights. This month, Ben is sharing his personal story about an unpredictable path to a wonderful life in Sarasota and a career at Allegiant.

As most good things happen in life, my path to Allegiant happened somewhat unexpectedly. I first met Marty Kossoff, President of Allegiant, during the summer of 2004. I was down in Florida on summer vacation when Hurricane Charlie ravaged the area. Feeling fortunate that Sarasota avoided the worst of the storm, I wanted to help those impacted any way I could. I spent my first day in Arcadia passing out water and food to those impacted and the second day on an orange grove in Fort Ogden. It was while working cleanup and repair on that orange grove that I met Marty. The connection: the farm belonged to the family of one of our partners at Kerkering Barberio. Little did I know that this connection would turn into lunch a year later and a job a few months after that. As is often the case, when you give, there’s a good chance you get back much more than you gave. 

Let’s rewind a little. Growing up in small-town New Jersey, I always knew investment management is what I wanted to do. From the time I was little I was very fascinated with investing and the theory of creating financial independence, probably to the delight of my parents! Match that with a natural proclivity for math and economics, wealth management was a perfect fit. As I was graduating from Bates College (with a double major in Economics and East Asian Studies) I encountered a big problem: almost every entry-level job in this industry is strictly sales. For example, some of the interviews were actual simulated cold calls. For a moment I thought my dreams of becoming a wealth manager were over; cold calling was not my idea of a career I wanted. That was when I reached out to Marty to get his honest opinion on the industry and the career paths available. That lunch changed my life. I turned down all the job offers I had and moved to Sarasota, realizing there was a better way to help people with their financial wellbeing. 

Moving to Sarasota was not only a great career move, it was even better on a personal level. I met my wonderful wife Erin and we now have two amazing, but always challenging, kids. Andrew is 6 and Lauren is 3. Parenthood is an amazing journey that I cherish every day. However, unlike most careers, parenting is quite possibly the hardest job you can ever do without ever receiving any formal training. I’ve been lucky enough to have a tremendous support team (something every parent needs) and have learned more than I ever could have imagined on early childhood development. Fortunate for the help I’ve received, I feel it’s my duty to spread what I’ve learned and connect families to the tremendous resources available in this great community. That is why I passionately serve on the Board of Trustees for the Forty Carrots Family Center, a non-profit designed to enhance early childhood development and strengthen family relationships. By the way, this was a connection I made through client relationships at Allegiant. Our clients do great things! 

It’s safe to say our family’s roots are now firmly grounded in Sarasota. I’ve travelled to many places in the world (almost 30 countries) and I can say unequivocally that we are lucky to live in such an amazing place. The quality of people and the quality of life in Sarasota is unrivaled. And, I even get to see my Red Sox during spring training or when they play the Tampa Bay Rays! 

Today, I take immense pride in Allegiant and the client relationships we have built over the years. What seemed so unique to me 13 years ago still seems unique today. Although our industry has shifted slightly over the years towards the way we operate Allegiant, I’m still amazed that it’s hard to find any local competitors doing what we do, providing comprehensive, independent, fiduciary-level advice with a focus on achieving the highest professional technical expertise in-house. It sounds like a very logical and simple concept, but in a sales-centric industry, often the basic blocking and tackling gets lost. That’s why we’ve focused first and foremost on providing the best advice we can, having the most knowledgeable (and friendly) professionals, and being your most trusted independent “thinking partner.” If we are successful in that, the business will be successful as well. 

I’m a true believer that good things happen when you least expect them. It has certainly been the case for me. The connections we make throughout life drive a large part of our happiness. For that, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have an amazing family and serve alongside the best colleagues as we work with the most remarkable families helping to do good in this world. As one of the very few people who can call a single job a lifetime career, I am as lucky as they come.