Fiduciary Finesse

Weathering 2020 with Axiom Financial Strategies Group
By Laura Ross

In these times of uncertainty, rapidly changing job situations, and the COVID-19 health crisis, we find our lives changing almost daily. How do you
possibly plan for your family’s financial future? It can be an overwhelming thought, and one you might shove on a shelf for a later day. Not so fast, says Axiom Financial Strategies Group’s founder and partner Vaughan Scott. He says now is the perfect time to plan for financial security. “Ask yourself, do you have a plan?” Scott says, “Do you have faith in that plan? If you don’t, then you better talk to someone with expertise.” Long-term financial planning not only gives you peace of mind, it also helps weather financial
storms like the one we find ourselves in right now. “The general pendulum swings between irrational exuberance and panic,” explains Scott. “The reality is you must have objective data to make informed decisions, and that’s what these plans do. (At Axiom Financial Services) we have ways to reduce the risk. The corrections that occur let us do major repositioning, but it’s always based on a client’s needs or goals. We try to provide as many solutions as possible.” New Albany’s Axiom Financial Strategies Group, led by Scott and his business partner, Mike Grau, has served Southern Indiana, Kentucky, and beyond since 2009. After a long stretch underthe Wells Fargo umbrella, the firm recently began
registered independent investment advisory operations focused on growth, service, integrity,
accountability, and innovation. Scott, a Southern Indiana native and Indiana University graduate, got the bug to help others build wealth by emulating his mom, who was a financial planner throughout the 1980s. “When I got out of college, the person who hired my mom suggested I get some real-world experience,” Scott says. He started working in the business with UBS in 1999 and worked with a team that included Gloria Bommarrito and Abby Wolfe, investment advisors who are still critical leaders of the Axiom team today. “Gloria and I split off to join Smith Barney in partnership with Your Community Bank (YCB) to take over YCB’s investment and trust operations in 2003,” says Scott. “She and I started with a fax machine and a couple computers,” he laughs. When work increased and they needed assistance, Scott asked Smith Barney for help finding someone who had an excellent planning background and was introduced to Mike Grau in 2003. “We built what became our Axiom team in that one conference room,” adds Grau, Axiom partner, certified financial planner, and retirement
income certified professional. His background in accounting and managing client portfolios was the perfect fit. The team clicked, and Axiom Financial Strategies Group was formed in partnership with Wells Fargo in 2009 – just as that year’s financial crisis hit. Today, Axiom serves clients in Indiana, Kentucky, and 14 other states. Scott and Grau have built a team of investment advisors with experience and enthusiasm and have plans for continued
growth. Many Axiom advisors have close ties to Southern Indiana.

“An axiom is a closely held principle or truth,” explains Scott. “We originally operated under our last names, but knew we wanted a name that had meaning.”

Axiom Financial Strategies Group advises
individuals, families, family-owned businesses,
and entrepreneurs through all stages of
financial planning, including wealth growth
and management, 401K investments, strategic
planning, and trusts.

“We have a team of nine advisors who all work
to make Axiom the best,” says Grau. “Our clients
see that. We invite them in, show them how we
work, and even do a complimentary plan first.
We want them to be comfortable with the entire
team and know they are welcomed and respected.”

An axiom is a closely held principle or truth. We knew we wanted a name that
had meaning.”
– Vaughan Scott,
Axiom Financial Strategies Group
founder and partner
Axiom Financial
Strategies Group

101 W. Spring St.
5th Floor
New Albany

Certified Financial Planner Michelle Konkle returned to her Southern Indiana roots to work with the firm. “I wanted to be a part of Axiom,” she says. “The respect and courtesy we give to clients shows we really do care for them. It’s not about production; it’s about working with genuinely nice people who care about their clients.”

Scott agrees, “Our culture puts our clients first. We have a fiduciary mindset, but we also truly function as a team. Most industry advisors have internal competitions, but we just always have the philosophy that if we take good care of our clients and have a good team, we’ll always have a place in this business.” Now more than ever, Scott knows that personal touch is paramount. When the sky seemed to fall earlier in 2020, Axiom mobilized to stay safe, work remotely, and work quickly to secure their clients’ investments as much as possible. “We learned to communicate via email and phone in ways we never did before,” says Scott.

“Mike and Gloria did a phenomenal job with our repositioning when the market was at its bottom. It’s one thing to absorb the shock of the market, but another thing to reposition for recovery. Mike and Gloria completed transactions for over
1,000 accounts in just a few days. As the market has recovered, our clients see the results of that.”

Earlier in the year, Grau and Scott focused on upgrading technology efforts and saw the benefits immediately. “We’ve remained flexible,” Grau says. “Everyone has a long-term plan that we put together the day we start working with them. When markets turn downward, people look at their scores and see their score is still in the target zone.
They can weather the storm, and we position the assets and work with a plan that allows them to see how they are doing. Most people are staying on track, despite the effects of 2020.” That personal touch highlights Axiom’s difference from larger, more national investment firms. Clients choose who they want to work with, says Grau, “We come in every day to serve our clients, our team members, and our community. That’s our mindset.”

“It’s a focus on families,” Scott adds, “It’s more than just a financial business. We take on clients who do cool things and help them grow. I think about what I would advise my family, my parents, my grandparents to do. We help, and we just do
it the right way.”

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