Getting to Know . . .
Financial Advisor – Vice President
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Since 1894, helping clients invest towards their financial goals and dreams
Josh Wright’s passion for helping others is evident in both his professional and personal life. It serves as a compass for his client’s desire to live life to the fullest by working with him to chart a confident course for their financial future. Over the years, he has developed a reputation for not only being an extraordinarily gifted financial advisor but also as a man possessing outstanding leadership qualities.
Josh is a financial advisor and vice president of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., which positions him to help even more clients. No stranger to the Kirkwood-Des Peres Area Chamber and local community, Josh is extremely pleased to again become a more active volunteer.
About Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Founded in 1874, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. is one of the oldest, largest and most successful firms in the United States. Headquartered in Minneapolis, there are corporate offices across America and the globe. The firm reported $13 billion in revenue last year and has $750 billion in assets.
Ameriprise holds leadership position in their core business segments: Advise and Wealth Management; Asset Management, Annuities and Protection. They offer a broad range of products and services including Financial Planning; Investments; Cash, Cards and Lending; Insurance and Annuities; Personal Trust Services.
“There are about 35 advisors in the metro area which is a perfect size for me. I don’t have to worry about carrying the responsibilities of lots of other people in a larger office. That allows me to do business the way I like to – doing what’s in my clients’ best interest.
“There are some things every financial advisor must have before opening their door to the public and I have all those in place. My location is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and I can clear my client’s trades through Ameriprise.
“The firm also has a compliance department which makes sure we are compliant with all regulations. That’s a big thing right now because in April of this year a whole new bundle of significant laws went into place. One of the good things addressed is conflict of interest. I like this because conflicts can arise. In fact, it’s the reason I am not a fan of representing a firm that also owns an investment bank.
“With this new regulatory change, you’ve got one of two things happening, firms are either moving in the direction of trying to commoditize advice and make financial advice and investment advice something of a packaged product – that’s one extreme.
“Other firms are trying to focus on the professionalism of the financial advice industry and Ameriprise is really leading the charge in that direction.”
A professional organization, the College for Financial Planning, does a lot of the training, certification and accreditation matters in the industry and the current chairman of their board is with Ameriprise. He is one of those comparing what is going on now with what went on in medicine at the turn of the 20th century.
“Back then you had the prairie doctor who didn’t have any formal training but needed to make a living, decided to be a doctor and learned by doing. At the same time, Harvard was turning out MDs so you had all kinds of doctors providing a wide range of medical training, experience and expertise.
“This is what we currently have with financial advisors – some have a very small amount of credentials, very basic licensing. However, they can charge a fee for financial advice and it’s difficult for the customer to know if they are really getting what they are paying for and need.
“Then you have others with lots of experience, expertise, training, and education, learning as much as possible from the client about their needs, hopes and desires, as well as other personal information in order for you to give them advice is a big, important job. It takes some know how – it’s a resource and skill.
“So the goal is to try to move the profession – raising the level of professionalism for everybody who does financial planning versus the firms who use salespersons to sell a product created by the firm. I wanted to go with a firm who has their focus on professionalism, where there is a high premium placed on advisors who had a high level of knowledge and applicable wisdom, which is to the benefit of our client’s situation. Working in that role is one of things I really enjoy about the business.
“I really like learning what kind of business the client has, about their family’s goals, things like that and then working with them to see how I can help out, how I can collaborate with them to achieve those goals.”
Josh appreciates the Kirkwood-Des Peres Area Chamber of Commerce
Josh credits his Chamber membership and involvement for honing his leadership skills.
“Early in my Chamber membership, I had a chance to develop as a leader in many ways. It can take a long time before you can have significant impact with responsibility, but the Chamber gave me a chance to jump into leadership roles early rather than later and learn by doing.
“One of the projects I was involved with in the Chamber was the Emerging Leaders activities. Part of that was finding people who had an upward trajectory and were early into their career, helping them to reach their goal, and what the Chamber could do to lend them support and help them grow personally and professionally.
“From my historical perspective, that’s one of the things I really appreciated and is a part of what makes me excited now as I re-engage in connection to the community
“I still hope to be active in leadership roles. What I really love is the feeling that I had a sense of the pulse of what’s happening. This is important to all business owners in the area. Where do you want to focus your resources and efforts. This is part of what I want to glean from becoming re-involved, a sense of knowing what’s going on in town.”
Josh and his wife, Mandy, have three children and live in Kirkwood. Their son is a senior at KHS, their daughter is a freshman at KHS, and their youngest daughter attends Keysor Elementary School and will enter North Kirkwood Middle School next year. As a lifetime resident, Mandy attended these same schools.
Josh was raised in Farmington, MO. He originally planned to teach after earning his BA in English from Truman State University then doing graduate work in Philosophy and Religion. “Professors do research and teach, so it sounded like a great mix for me but I decided I didn’t want to do it all the time because I also like being with people.”
Between his undergrad and graduate work, Josh spent a year and a half working at a local branch of a large brokerage and found it to be very interesting. “I soon realized it was the similarity between the two professions that attracted me since both involve research followed by communicating the results to clients. During the years I was pursuing my master’s degree made me aware I may have stumbled upon a great opportunity and might be a good fit for me.
“So I went back into the business world with the intention of becoming a financial advisor. I spent another year and a half in one of their offices getting my licenses and some of the accreditation needed, then came out into the field as a financial advisor in 2004. The result is that I’m a financial advisor with a background in literature and philosophy!”
Twelve years later, he is a widely recognized, highly successful advisor who has helped hundreds of clients invest towards their financial goals and dreams. For additional information about Josh and Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 314.725.4266.