You can learn a lot from riding a Harley. Vance Barse did. While riding around the country for a year, growing long hair and a full beard (a la Forrest Gump at the end of his multi-marathon run), Vance reached conclusions. One was to start his own business, which today is Your Dedicated Fiduciary®.
Backing up to the beginning, Vance was born in Morgantown, WV, and grew up in rural Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. He earned an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland. Then he decided to go to California and try and make it big – but not in Hollywood. He went to San Diego to get a job in biotech. Instead, he found work at a behavioral healthcare firm and was later introduced by his boss, who nudged him toward financial services, to the founder of an institutional asset management firm.
That casual introduction—paired with 9 months of Vance’s polite persistence in wanting to work there—landed Vance the role he wanted: living out of a suitcase while teaching private wealth financial advisors how to invest for their clients. He met many of today’s leading economists and learned the inner workings of the wealth management industry (read: what the public needs to know). Vance continued this work for 10 years.
Then fate stepped in. In the last 18 months of that career, Vance lost 5 family members, 3 of whom were very close. One was his grandmother, who lived in West Virginia. She had a massive stroke, and Vance decided to resign from his job, live in her home, and visit her in the nursing home. Ultimately, everyone realized she was not getting better. Vance had many heart-to-heart talks with this amazing woman throughout this time. He also connected with the widow of his birth father, whom he never met. Shortly before his grandmother’s death, Vance was ceremoniously given his birth father’s Harley. When she died, Vance threw a leg over that Harley and hit the open road for what became a year-long round-the-country journey of reflection and discovery.
“It was somewhere between Sturgis and Denver when I realized that I could start a firm that focuses on filling in the planning gaps that I often saw wealth managers leave behind,” he said. Your Dedicated Fiduciary® was born. “Things were rough for the first two-and-a-half years. I realized I was giving all my expertise away but not bringing people onboard. So, we changed it to ‘you get the first 15 minutes for free, then we’re retained.’” That’s when things took off.
Your Dedicated Fiduciary® serves clients with $2 – $25 million in investable assets, which is an underserved cohort in wealth management, as well as business owners in anticipation of a liquidity event. This is somewhat unusual in the market because retail financial advisors typically serve clients with $1 million or less and big banks target families who have $25 million+. Many of the $2 – $25 million profiles don’t know the advanced planning strategies for which they are eligible, which can help reduce their taxes and keep more money in their estate.
“We are a full-service fiduciary financial planning firm that offers a family office model, which business owners don’t understand until they’ve experienced the difference” Vance explained. “We are categorically within the wealth management sector of financial services, but I spent 10 years teaching leading financial advisors and wealth management firms how to invest their clients’ money. In that role, I learned way more than I ever bargained for: in particular, the planning strategies that many wealth management firms don’t offer their clients that leaves a lot of value on the table for business-owning families. We help clients keep as much money in the estate as possible and outline how to have the family’s assets unify family members instead of being the source of disunion. Family heritage statements are a beautiful way to emphasize a family’s values.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 218,000 personal financial advisors in the nation. Vance is one of only about 2,800 Certified Private Wealth Advisor® practitioners. His firm’s clientele is comprised of roughly 50 families nationwide, “for whom we serve as in-house, right-hand consultants on investment, tax, estate, risk management, and family legacy planning. We travel to them with our high-touch, white-glove service model.” Almost inevitably, the family expands Vance’s scope of work to include additional services. The kicker? Vance doesn’t sell commissionable investment products – that’s a key aspect of serving as a true fiduciary.
Vance and his wife Jodi moved to North Texas to be near her family. He still has his office in San Diego but is firmly settled in Prosper. They have a 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, both of whom, Vance says, “are the lights of our lives!” They like Texas but Vance was terrified during the first tornado warning. “I installed a tornado shelter, and all the neighbors were like, ‘Oh, yeah, they just moved here from California,’” Vance shared, laughing. He was once in a hotel that was hit by a tornado.
Jodi and Vance recently attended the EO Dallas Chapter Retreat to Cancun and got to know a lot of people very quickly. Vance knows he’s found the right group. “I’m not a great sleeper, and I realized I was home in EO because a lot of people said they wake up thinking about their businesses. I want to learn what has worked in other businesses and what hasn’t.”
Welcome to Texas and EO Dallas, Vance!
Vance Barse is an investment advisor representative with and offers advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network, a registered investment adviser.