Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Members are successful leaders from world-class financial companies, each bringing a wealth of experience to the table. In this spotlight series, we profile our incredible members and share their advice with you.

Andrew Stafford is the Chief Operating Officer at Lawing Financial, a national full service financial planning firm specializing in providing a collaborative approach to fee-based asset management, qualified plan design and implementation, and wealth management. They’re headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, with locations throughout the United States and investment advisors serving clients across the nation.

How did your career as a finance executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?

I started my career in wealth advice in 2013 and found early success, earning the “New Advisor of the Year” award during my first year at Lawing Financial. Then in 2016, I was named COO of the firm. I owe my success to the team I have around me, my passion for exceeding expectations, and a competitive fire that provides a unique internal drive to succeed. Our unique approach to client engagement allows me to focus on what I do best — serve my clients. The firm prides itself on building a team of experts around each client to help them navigate each phase of their financial life cycle.

How do you keep yourself motivated and driven by your work, regardless of how busy you are day to day?

First and foremost, I am driven to be the best I can be by my wife and children. The example and life I provide them is the ultimate motivator. Organizationally, as the COO of Lawing Financial, I think about the thousands of families just like mine that have entrusted our organization with their most valuable assets, their dreams, and at times, their legacy. I see families enter and exit our walls every day. The same internal flame that drives me from my family, guides my decisions about your family. It is a responsibility I relish and take very seriously.

What do you see as the future of the financial world?

I feel very bullish on the financial services industry’s future. Commerce, or some form of it, has stood the test of time. It’s in our DNA that most of us want to work hard, give back, consume and save. But, the financial landscape is changing. Ranging from the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule to the rise of robo-advisory — how investors obtain financial advice is evolving. One thing is constant, though: effective wealth advice is based on solid relationships between clients and advisors. There needs to be a trusted relationship so advisors and clients can have candid conversations about the decisions an advisor is making on behalf of the client. These decisions must be made in the client’s best interest and aligned with the goals set by the client. Assuming those elements remain present, the financial industry will continue to thrive.

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