Independently Thinking
Hoover Financial Advisors, helmed by 30-plus-year veteran Peter K. Hoover, leads a diverse roster of clients down a path toward financial independence
by Bill Donahue

One might compare Peter K. Hoover, CFP, to a sought-after tour guide of a very particular sort—one who leads his clients on a long, fruitful and carefully structured journey, through territory rife with potential hazards, and delivers them safely to their destination.

“If you were to start out today driving from Philadelphia to California, you wouldn’t just get in the car and start driving,” he says. “You would figure out what route to take, where to stop and what you want to see along the way. It’s the same with a financial plan. You figure out the strategy, which becomes the road map or blueprint to get you where you want to go. For me, I look at the financial plan as the road map to your financial future.”

For more than 30 years, Pete has been creating these “road maps” in the form of individualized, flexible financial plans designed to keep clients financially independent, thereby enabling them to have a life that matches their hopes and dreams. After graduating from Shippensburg University in 1981, Pete immediately went into practice as an independent financial advisor. “I have known no way of life other than financial planning,” he says. He earned Certified Financial Planner status in 1987, and he has worked as an independent advisor from the very beginning.

“I see that as a huge benefit,” he says. “I have no proprietary products, and no insurance company or investment company pushing me to make recommendations. I can help my clients make the best decisions for their future without any preconceived molds or anybody outside of our firm trying to steer us one way or the other. … People trust us with their money and pay us to service them honestly and with their best interests at heart. We’re also not high pressure, and people appreciate that.

“I live, work and breathe this business,” he continues. “I’m passionate about what I do, and I think about it constantly. I’m always looking for ways to improve the business and looking for ways to grow it and make it bigger and even better than it currently is.”

Since Pete founded Hoover Financial Advisors in 2005, the firm’s size and scope have multiplied. In the past nine years, the amount of assets managed by the firm has grown from $90 million to $400 million. Most of his clients are either retired or approaching retirement, and a significant percentage of clients are widowed or divorced women, many of whom are handling their finances for the first time.

To accommodate growth while continuing to offer the highest caliber of client service, the firm has amassed a team of 12 highly qualified individuals that Pete describes as a “well-oiled machine.” These team members include wealth managers, retirement planning specialists, investment managers and analysts, insurance specialists, income tax experts and client service specialists.

Among the most recent additions is Kelly Hoover, Pete’s eldest daughter, who joined the firm last year and has been steadily growing into the role of office manager. Having earned her undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in financial services from St. Joseph’s University, Kelly spent five years working with The Vanguard Group before joining the family business. She has continued to build upon her knowledge base and follow in her father’s footsteps. Some day in the not-too-distant future, she intends to become a Certified Financial Planner, just as her father is.

“My dad’s way of doing things is unique,” she says. “He’s very client focused, and I have been able to see that 10-fold now that I work here. He truly cares about clients, and I think that’s the main reason why he has an incredibly high retention rate. He’s very honest and forthcoming, and always does what’s best for the client. And it’s not just him. He’s hired and cultivated a great group of people who follow his example.

“I grew up with admiration for a lot of qualities my dad has and the qualities he instilled in our family,” she continues. “We were always very conscious about money, and that carried forward in my education. It has been part of my life and upbringing, and I feel passionate about following in his footsteps. He’s done amazing things at HFA, and it’s wonderful to see the things he’s accomplished in growing the business.”

Prospective clients benefit from complimentary consultations where they can “kick the tires and get to know us,” as Pete says. Then, assuming the firm and client are compatible, they proceed to a data-gathering meeting whereby an advisor learns aspects of the client’s current financial situation, goals for the future and other details germane to the planning process.

“We ask a lot of questions,” he says. “We want to understand who they are and their vision for the future. In other words, what do they want to accomplish with their money, how do they want to live their lives and how much income is needed for things like sending kids to college? From there, there’s a risk-tolerance questionnaire to help them understand how they perceive the risk of investing. It’s a matter of lifestyle, and each client has different goals and different risk levels.”

With this due diligence complete, the Hoover Financial Advisor team begins to put all the different pieces of the puzzle together. An advisor assembles the plan based on each client’s specific situation, with the goal of making sure the client’s money will not only enable them to accomplish the goals they set forth but also outlast them. The firm meets with clients at least twice per year, to evaluate the plan and consider any life changes that might affect the client’s needs or goals going forward.

“We like to think of a financial plan as a one-time process, but we also practice financial management,” he says. “A financial plan is a snapshot, but financial management is a motion picture; it’s ongoing planning based on tax laws, your personal situation, the economy, the stock market, births or deaths in the family and any number of things that might change.”

Pete, who is a lifelong resident of Chester County, enjoys getting to know the intimate details of his clients’ lives. But the most gratifying aspect of the discipline he has called “a job” for more than three decades is something much more measurable: results.

“The best thing that I get to do is help a client achieve a goal and make them feel confident about that goal—that they can retire comfortably and are able to pass on their wealth to their wife or the next generation and have their affairs in order,” he says. “It’s the No. 1 reason I’m still passionate about this business. I’ve done it for 33 years, and I hope to do it for a lot longer.”

Hoover Financial Advisors P.C.
112 Moores Road, Suite 100
Malvern, PA 19355


 Photograph by Jody Robinson