Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lynn Bianco Murphy

Lynn Bianco Murphy:
A Life of Balance and Care

By: Joseph W. Norman

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Enjoy the read about...Lynn Bianco Murphy...below! Thanks for your readership!

Lynn Bianco Murphy is an incredibly active woman with a tremendous knack for balancing her professional and personal life. As a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Partner and Managing Director of American Portfolios in Rochester, New York, she has her hands full professionally. More importantly, as a mother of three children under the age of ten, she has quite a fulfilling spread of engagements. Her keen eye for detail and unique ability to examine and analyze situations has helped her manage a lifestyle that would drive many people towards insanity. For Lynn though, this is just part of being who she is; an intelligent, genuine, and caring financial advisor and a loving, involved mother and wife.

Lynn grew up in a small town outside of Albany, where she excelled in math and science but was pushed towards education, “because of the need,” she said. While studying Psychology and Education at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, she began to rethink her approach after “being thrown into a classroom with twenty-one, five year olds.” At this point, she realized she needed to push her analytical and computational strengths more and started to take classes at Monroe Community College in business and law. Soon after, she took a position at Xerox Corporation in their Finance Department.

While working hard as a junior analyst, a friend told her that she could make just as much money in the financial services industry with a much brighter future ahead if she excelled. As a twenty year old, “the money sounded good,” she said, so she made the switch. Starting in insurance sales, “which I hated,” she said, a move was then made to Chase bank in a more transactional role. With a desire to work for herself, she struck out on her own in 1995.

Lynn's various financial certifications

In 2001, her independent practice began working with the broker-dealer American Portfolios. This company is different from the banks and wire houses that one usually sees in the financial industry. It allows independent advisors to run their own operations with 100 percent autonomy. Since 2001, American Portfolios has gone from managing $800 million in assets to over $9 billion.

At her office in Rochester, Lynn works with her partner Bob to manage the wealth of both high net worth individuals and companies. Her focus is on the individual, while Bob’s strengths focus primarily on 401k planning and corporate client’s needs. They work well as a team though, so when one needs to be away, they can easily manage each other’s books and client base.

Lynn’s describes her job as helping people take a lot of pieces of their financial puzzle and putting them together into a cohesive plan. The goal of the plan is to help them attain success and piece of mind for when they retire. Her retirement and investment presentations have educated employees of Xerox, Bausch & Lomb, Eastman Kodak and many other major corporations.

Not only does Lynn tackle comprehensive financial planning, but she also researches and builds her own financial models. Lynn and a counterpart in Pennsylvania have built a model which she uses with her clients, continuously tracking its performance with the hope of one day licensing it for sale. Her CSA certification signifies her understanding of complex economic, demographic, physical and social factors and trends. This broad knowledge base has provided a sound place for her clients to park their money.

Lynn has worked about sixty-five hours a week for the last fifteen years while running her own practice. During those hours she accomplishes the aforementioned tasks of serving her client’s needs and building models and finding investments to reach their goals. In addition, she said, “I spend a portion of my day trying to figure out what other people know that I should know.” She recommends, “When you stop looking at life that way, you fall behind.”

Besides the countless spreadsheets, financial models, tax planning, and research, Lynn’s number one goal is to serve her clients. The mantra of her business is “if you treat other people the way you want to be treated, it is easy.” She uses this model to find clients that “fit well.” Lynn said, “I have said to people, if you walk out and do not feel I am a fit for you, do not come back.” This honesty and genuine care for her clients is what has made her business successful. She receives about ten referrals a month because of the quality service and performance she has consistently provided.

In her focus on the people, Lynn reflects on a few of the practices she uses to keep her people happy. First, she said, “I really try to involve myself in people’s lives: I care about what is going on with people, and they know that.” She tries to go above and beyond by surprising her clients. Recently, she threw a surprise birthday party for a client, inviting over fifty of his friends. In another unique practice, her office has a strict return call policy. “If someone calls me today, I will get back to them today,” she said.

American Portfolios from the outside

While successfully managing and growing her financial services business with honest advice and tremendous work ethic, Lynn has also raised three children, Juliana, 9, Colin, 6, and Gracie, 4. When first asked about her family, she said, “They are awesome. Just awesome.” Describing her children, she said, “They are all totally different.”

Julianna is very civilized, intelligent, and fashionable, Lynn says. She does artwork which is plastered all over her mother’s office, is top of her class, and reads 200 page books every week.

Colin is a little hockey player. “If he never had to read a book or pick up a pen again he would be psyched,” Lynn said. “He likes popping wheelies and is a little man, no girlie things.” He plays hockey, tee ball, and is very athletic if he likes doing it.

Gracie is a total “type A” personality. Lynn says, “She is just wicked: very smart, four years old and writes in cursive.” One day, Lynn says she can see her getting in the car and just driving away, missing in action.” Last week, on one of her first times on a bike she rode with ease, no training wheels necessary. She plays hockey, goes to religion class, and swim lessons.

This terrific trio keeps Lynn and her husband plenty busy but are truly a blessing. “As hard as I work here (at American Portfolios), I work just as hard at home,” Lynn says. Although, she admits, “We have a lot of help at this point.” Her husband is a mutual fund wholesaler who travels a lot. “That is the only downside,” she said. “He is gone a couple nights a week, but it has been twelve years, so I am kind of used to it.” They have common interests and a mutual respect for each other. “I would not trade him for the world,” she says.

As far as balancing this dynamic life, Lynn says, “I was brought up differently than many people, just by my mother.” Under all circumstances she was taught to be able to take care of myself. She states, “The whole stay at home mother thing, just never was…” She paid her way through school and has worked for everything she has. “I didn’t know anything different,” she said. She could easily stay at home with her children now, but her business is just as much a part of who she is.

The lobby at American Portfolios

She out sources most of her domestic activities, such as buying groceries, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, etcetera. “When I am home, it is my children’s time,” she said. “Otherwise, it is so easy to do stuff all the time.” They spend their weeknights and weekends together with good quality time. “If I am going to do something, it will be after they go to bed,” Lynn states. They ski, swim, boat, and play together constantly. In fact, Lynn suffered a knee injury recently, trying to stay up with her two daughters on the ski slopes.

Now it is important to discuss the little things that make Lynn who she is. She sleeps about four hours a night generally from 1:30 to 6 AM. She works out at night, usually from 10:15 – 11 PM and then spends time planning her next day and catching up on more reading materials. Lynn is a voracious reader, consuming about twenty magazines and trade publications a month, while constantly staying up on the financial markets and latest trends. She enjoys skiing, long distance biking, exercising, hiking, and vacationing.

Her favorite food is pasta and seafood while her favorite candy bar is the delicious Twix bar. She loves the movies The Birdcage and Grumpier Old Men because she finds them absolutely hilarious. When she comes home from work, she is more apt to watch funny movies because laughing is important to her. Fortunately, her kids provide a constant source of entertainment, hence her first proclamation, “they are awesome.”

Three people she would like to meet are Ronald Reagan, Susan B. Anthony, and Warren Buffett. A few favorite books include Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson, and Tested in the Trenches by Ron Carson and Steve Sandruski. The latter has given her great insight into what it takes to be a successful financial planner.

Next, is a personal statement of Lynn’s about her business and her philosophies:

“At the end of the day, I take the sometimes intimidating and untrusting process of investment and financial planning and put the clients at emotional ease. I get them on track to meet their long term financial goals in an honest, communicative and forthright process. What I do is very personal and when I first meet with my prospective clients I tell them, if you walk out of here and do not feel that I am a fit for you, then it is not meant for us to work together. One must remember, it is a comprehensive process. Many times for clients, after health and family, I am the next person in line coordinating all of their financial and life affairs, so a trusting relationship is crucial to their long term success. Thus far, over the last fifteen years, that philosophy has worked very well. Over eighty percent of my new clients are from referrals from my existing clients.”

A poster and book shelf in Lynn's office

Lynn Bianco Murphy has worked incredibly hard to get to where she is today and there are no signs of stopping. This is a character trait that was modeled to her by her mother and is one she wishes to pass on to her son and two daughters. Especially for her daughters, she wants them to have respect for the fact that they can do whatever they want to do. As an acclaimed female in a predominately male financial planning world, she is living proof.

Lynn’s care for people and desire to better not only herself, but those around her, has made her a success. Modeling the quote, “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” Lynn has created a strong business, founded on going above and beyond for her clients. This mother of three, loving wife, and dynamic business woman will no doubt continue to make a positive mark on the world.

Joseph, Lynn, and Ben in Lynn's office

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Lynn Bianco Murphy
American Portfolios
CSA, Partner, Managing Director

1040 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
Phone: 585.461.6412