Managing Wealth Challenges Over a Lifetime
Trusted companions. They are the ones who offer guidance and assistance when circumstances are complex, who always go above and beyond to help you find your way, and who faithfully stay by your side through the good and the challenging times.
When thinking of the trusted companions, how often does one think of their bank or financial advisor? For clients of Washington Trust Bank’s Wealth Management & Advisory Services, the answer is, surprisingly often.
Rob Blume, Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Wealth Management & Advisory Services at Washington Trust, is proud of the continuum of services Wealth Management & Advisory Services provides, strengthening the long-standing relationships between the bank and its clients. Over the 30 years he has been a part of Wealth Management, Blume has seen the impact of those services on the relationships.
“Washington Trust Bank has been here for 115 years and we are still the same firm in the same business in which we were founded,” says Blume. “We’ve had trust powers and fiduciary responsibilities for clients’ money since 1902, and in those 115 years, we have served a variety of types of clients and organizations, developing ways to help people from birth, through multiple generations, to death.”
Throughout every step of a client’s financial journey, Blume and his team remember to focus on the individual relationships that are built with their clients. “The value of Wealth Management & Advisory Services at Washington Trust Bank is the people,” says Blume. “We empower our people to make good decisions, to listen patiently and carefully to our clients, to understand what their goals and needs are, and we tailor our approach to making sure we are serving those goals and needs.”
When Blume meets with a client, he is bringing his own skill and resources, as well as the resources of his 80-person team in Wealth Management, and the full support of Washington Trust Bank’s 115 years of servicing clients in a variety of ways, all of which work together to create the ultimate trusted companion for his clients.
Many businesses talk about being committed partners with their clients, but they don’t always have the breadth and depth of experience to back it up. Not so for Washington Trust; Blume can quickly name off multiple clients with whom the Wealth Management & Advisory Services division has partnered, providing a variety of services and developing strong meaningful relationships. One such example is a business client from Montana with whom the bank started working in the 1960s.
“We had 30 years’ worth of a banking relationship as well as a personal relationship,” says Blume, “when in the 1990s, the business owner and his wife decided to sell their business and move to Washington. Prior to the move, we helped them transfer their assets, sell their business, and we even helped them buy a home in Washington. We oversaw some of the tax aspects of his life, including his business taxes, the taxes for his family and income taxes for his new business, which he created after he moved here to Washington. Shortly after moving here, his wife passed away and we helped establish trusts for his family, himself, his grandchildren and his daughter. Beyond that, we also provided for continuity of existence, or management of the assets left for the benefit of his grandchildren, which is planned to continue for generations to come. This included meeting with the grandchildren on an annual basis to make sure they understood what his principles were and that the fundamental things he felt were essential were passed along to the next generation.”
Years later, though that client has since passed away, Washington Trust, Blume and the other members of Wealth Management & Advisory Services continue to work with his grandchildren, and now great grandchildren, ensuring his wealth, ethics and principles are passed along to future generations.
“I think, very importantly, he looked upon us as a trusted advisor,” says Blume. “He recognized that he was not going to be here forever, but Washington Trust Bank provided that continuity of service. He had faith that, whether it was Rob Blume or other employees in our department, we would be there for him and for his family.”
As clients’ needs change throughout their professional and personal lives, Wealth Management & Advisory Services is committed to helping them in various stages. “It doesn’t mean we can always provide them everything that they need,” says Blume, “but it means we know how to find resources.” Those resources might include outside professionals, attorneys, CPAs, insurance professionals and more.
Providing outside resources, putting the client’s needs first and consistently being available to meet with clients one-on-one are all essential to the bank’s fiduciary role. “We make a point of making sure that the client is treated as our first and foremost priority, and that we’re here to make sure that all of their needs are met, and when acting as a trustee we act in accordance with the instructions the trustor provides,” says Blume. “That is a hallmark of Washington Trust Bank, that fiduciary responsibility, and that we are here for the client and want to be fully transparent about how we conduct our business.”
Operating with the highest level of skill and professionalism, Washington Trust Bank’s Wealth Management & Advisory Services has developed a team that is without peer in the Pacific Northwest. “We have an outstanding group of professional investment managers who have come to us from a variety of places, including working on Wall Street in New York City, and other organizations, nationally,” says Blume. “The difference is that we are one-on-one with our clients. It doesn’t do a lot of good for a client to have outstanding bench strength, but never be able to meet those people working hard for them. We feel one-on-one connections to our clients are extremely important. Our resources are very deep, and we make sure that our clients are very well served and know us personally.”
There are four pillars—Wisdom, Vision, Passion and Strength—of Watrustology, which is the word used to capture the underlying foundation and philosophy of Washington Trust Bank. “The one that really stands out to me in Wealth Management & Advisory Services is Passion,” says Blume. “Without that, we cannot fulfill the other three pillars effectively. We may have the strength, we may have the wisdom and we may have the vision, but if we don’t have passion to communicate and do that for our clients, then the other three pillars aren’t nearly as valuable as they should be. To me, Watrustology is passion, and we bring that to our day-to-day work, we bring that to our communities, and we really encourage our employees to have that passion and the tools to convey that passion into serving our clients extremely well.”
For the clients served in Wealth Management & Advisory Services, the passion that is demonstrated in the one-on-one relationships, results in outstanding service. “It is a team; it is not just talking to Rob Blume, it’s not just talking to one of our relationship managers, it’s talking to a deep resource of individuals who are bringing a legacy of client service to our clients,” says Blume. “This legacy is significant because when you talk to us, we have 115 years of thoughtful wisdom and knowledge that we convey to our clients. There are not a lot of places that can communicate that adequately.”
Then again, there are not a lot of places that are considered to be a trusted companion like Washington Trust Bank.
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