Reaping the Harvest
The father-and-son team behind Anthony Petsis & Associates Inc. helps clients plant the seeds of financial security
by Phil Gianficaro

It was approximately 20 years ago when Anthony Petsis addressed a classroom of third graders on “Career Day.” One of the students asked what he did for a living. As president of Anthony Petsis & Associates Inc., a financial planning firm based in Newtown, the answer could very well have been straightforward, but he chose a more artful approach.

“I’m a farmer,” he remembers telling the class. “I plant people’s money and help it grow.”

The students appeared energetic and enthusiastic, which Petsis confidently ascribed to the content of his speech. His son, Alex, who was a student in that classroom, recalls it slightly differently. He argues the 8-year-olds’ remarkable interest level might have been due to them being “sugared-up,” as he describes it, by the candy bars his dad had distributed. Either way, the speech left an indelible mark on many of the children in the classroom that day.

For all 37 years he has been a trusted and award-winning financial advisor, Anthony Petsis has been making lasting impressions on the people he meets. Whether advising clients on the most effective ways to save for retirement or their children’s college education, offering sound advice on life insurance and long-term medical care, or lending counsel on or a host of other investment or financial planning strategies, priority No. 1 has never changed: Do what’s best for every client.

As a comprehensive financial-services firm committed to improving clients’ long-term financial success, Anthony Petsis & Associates offers a personalized approach to delivering customized programs designed to grow and preserve wealth. The firm, which assists clients in every aspect of their financial lives, has earned a reputation of excellence in the financial industry with its personalized services. For each client, the company tries to create the financial stability and security needed to provide financial independence.

“The most important thing our clients tell us, and why many of them have been with us for more than 30 years, is that we always have their best interest at heart—always,” Petsis says. “Anyone can throw money at a mutual fund, stock or bond and hope it grows, but what we try to do with clients is make sure that when they meet with us, and by the time we go through the planning process, they feel more relaxed, comfortable and confident we have helped them attain their goal. They’re confident that what we’re telling them is something that will work out for them. That’s more than just numbers; it’s about being trustworthy and knowledgeable. It’s about caring about people first.”

To best serve its clients, Anthony Petsis & Associates subscribes to four precepts: Always be on time; do what you say; finish what you start; and say “please” and “thank you.” Some might consider this a bit old fashioned, but treating each client with respect goes a long way toward forming a trusted relationship.

“We are respectful of a client’s time,” Petsis says. “When a client pulls up to the office, I’m alerted so I can finish what I’m doing and get down to them so they aren’t waiting. That’s one of the things that drive me nuts; you go to a professional’s office and wait for an hour. I never understood that. Yes, it may be old fashioned. But it’s about respecting the client.

“We tell our staff: ‘What can we do to be better every day for our clients?’” he continues. “We want them to be a better person, a better father, brother, sister. It’s a simple premise. If you think that way, you’re always trying to give that client nothing less than the best you can be.”

That unwavering “people first” business model serves as the foundation upon which Anthony Petsis & Associates was built. More important, this approach has sustained the firm and has been adopted by Alex Petsis, who joined the firm four years ago.

Petsis views his son as not merely one of the most important people in his life but also as someone whose fresh ideas can help better serve clients. The younger Petsis was a summer intern at the firm for two years of high school and four years of college. He joined the firm full time in August 2013 after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a BSBA degree in finance. His responsibilities include social-media initiatives, providing financial projections for clients and assisting with the firm’s information technology, as well as the implementation of clients’ plans.

“Alex being there also frees up my time to use my unique abilities such as meeting with clients, holding strategy meetings and thinking about client plans,” Petsis says. “In my opinion, his addition to the firm has lengthened the time I’m able to continue as a strategic partner in the company’s long-term growth. Many times when there’s a father/son or father/daughter relationship in a company, people think about [the senior family member] retiring. That’s the opposite here; having Alex here will actually allow me to extend my time I can contribute here.”

And while Alex Petsis has brought new ideas to his father’s company, he admits his dad was ahead of the curve long before he was given a seat in the office.

“In terms of technology, my dad was using it to help clients for decades,” he says. “We have full online deliverables our clients can review. This is long before other advisors did or even knew it existed. He’s technologically advanced.”

Industry data suggest 57 percent of American workers have saved less than $25,000 for retirement, and 28 percent have saved less than $1,000. There’s a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” But, according to Petsis, it’s never too late to start.

“Am I surprised some people haven’t saved much for retirement? No,” he says. “When they come to see us, we try to give them hope that it’s never too late to start. I ask them how much they have in the bank today, and some say they have nothing. Then I ask if they’d rather have $100,000 in the bank than nothing, and they say they would. Then I say, ‘Let’s start.’ Sometimes, people just need a pep talk to help motivate them.”

However, Petsis says most of his clients have saved plenty for retirement. Even so, fear often sets in.

“They turn around one day and have this huge nest egg, and fear they might make a mistake with it. I try to ease those fears and let them know that my main job is not to mess it up,” he says, chuckling.

Ultimately, Petsis became a financial planner because he saw it as a way to help people, a way to have an immediate impact on their success.

“We’re changing people’s lives,” Petsis says. “How many careers can you have that are like that? Not a whole heck of a lot. That was probably the main motivator.”

And so, father and son continue farming in the financial world. They plant the hopes and dreams of clients in fertile soil, enriched with trust and knowledge, and watch the seeds grow. For the elder Petsis, who spoke to that classroom full of those third graders so long ago, doing what’s best for the client continues to be quite elementary.

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

Photograph by Allure West Studios