Planning for Success
Anthony and Alex Petsis, the father-and-son team behind Anthony Petsis and Associates Inc., help clients plan for tomorrow
by Lindsey Getz

Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” This quote—a favorite of financial professional Anthony Petsis—uses few words but speaks volumes about the importance of knowing where one is headed.

This is especially true of financial planning. These days a lot of people have instant access to technology through their laptops and smartphones. While an investor may be able to keep up with the markets or get onto investment websites at the touch of a button, it’s still incredibly valuable to have a trusted financial advisor as an advocate and an informed coach.

Petsis has been a financial advisor for 35 years now. Financial planning has become second nature to him. In fact, he says it’s not uncommon for him to be going about his day and the framework of a client’s retirement plan will pop into his head.

“We think a lot about our clients,” Petsis says. “It’s 24/7 for me. When I leave here at the end of the day, I don’t just stop thinking about my clients and how I can help. I started this when I was 22 years old—right out of college—and it’s part of me.”

Petsis says he’s invested in his clients and their success, and he feels the victories right along with them.

“We’re the second-happiest people when we see a successful plan come to fruition,” Petsis says. “We’ve been doing this a long time, so we have the benefit of experiencing these plans come full circle. We’ve seen the results of good planning. That includes plans that resulted in the passing of wealth to children, plans that resulted in children making it through college and plans that resulted in a stress-free retirement. We enjoy getting to take away some of that worry.” 

Even many financial advisors know that having a second set of eyes when it comes to financial planning can be invaluable. Many skilled financial advisors are based in the Greater Philadelphia Area, and some of them have engaged the help of Anthony Petsis and Associates Inc. for assistance. “Not only do our clients seek our help, but I have other advisors that have also engaged our firm for their own financial plans and have become clients, which to me is very flattering,” says Petsis. “Even though they are experienced in their own rights, we act as an extra set of eyes helping other advisors obtain their financial goals.”

A Second-Generation Operation
Petsis truly loves his work, and that passion obviously runs in the family. His son, Alex, was a summer intern at the firm for two years of high school and all four years of college. For the last two years Alex has been working full time with the firm. Becoming a second-generation business has been a big deal for the elder Petsis. The addition of his son to an already-stellar team has helped Petsis put even more focus on meeting clients, instructing their financial plans and providing leadership in decision making.

Having a succession plan already in place to one day usher the business into the future also helps put clients’ minds at ease—especially those with children and grandchildren of their own, because they know that there is a long-term plan in place for them, too. In other words, it adds even more stability to an already-stable firm. Also, it provides clients with the added benefit of getting two advisors for the price of one.

“Alex sits about 12 feet away from me, and as I’m interacting with clients all day, he’s right there, absorbing and assisting,” Petsis says. “As a young advisor he often brings something different to the table and the client benefits from getting both of us working on their plan. It has enhanced what we can offer.”

While Petsis has undoubtedly been a mentor to his son, he says Alex is hardly his only “right-hand man.” Three additional staffers truly create a team atmosphere within the firm. “We all work together, like a family,” Petsis says.

“Our staff is incredibly important to this business,” adds Alex. “We have a staff that understands our clients and that clients feel comfortable interacting with. That’s a huge part of our success.”

Improving Every Day
The team at Anthony Petsis and Associates certainly has a lot of reasons to feel that they’ve reached the top of their game. They’ve earned honors and recognition, and they have other trusted financial advisors actually seeking out their guidance. But they refuse to let success be a breeding ground for complacency. As a result, Petsis says that the company philosophy is to ask one another every day, “How can we be better?”

Petsis tries to answer this question daily in his personal and spiritual life as well. In short, he’s constantly seeking out ways to improve.

“I have met with businesspeople who have decided they’re as good as they’re going to get and they stop trying,” he says. “We always want to ask ourselves how we can get better. It’s a simple question, but it helps keep you focused on the important things. We bring it up at staff meetings, and we encourage staff to generate ideas. The result has been constant improvement as advisors and as a firm, which, in turn, has meant good things for our clients.” 

Being the best you can be is a lesson that Petsis has carried with him a long time. And it’s a lesson he can remember bringing to so-called “career days” when Alex was a young boy in grade school. Every year he would volunteer his time to speak to Alex’s class about his job as a financial advisor.

“I would always bring three envelopes for all the kids, and I would explain that one was for spending, one was for saving and one was for investing,” Petsis shares. “I encouraged the kids to divvy up any money they got from birthdays or their paper routes into thirds and to put that money into those envelopes.”

Petsis says that, to this day, he will be walking down the street and have some of Alex’s then-classmates—now 24-year-old men and women—stop him to tell him they’re still using the principle of the envelopes to save money for a down payment on a house or another big investment. Or they will say their parents opened a mutual fund with their investment envelope and they’re doing very well.

“That’s so rewarding,” Petsis emphasizes. “Probably one of the most incredible feelings as a financial planner is to feel that you’ve actually made a difference. To see that a plan you helped put in motion is working—that’s what I aim to do every day.”

Anthony Petsis and Associates Inc.
401 S. State Street
Newtown, PA 18940

Photograph by Allure West Studios