'Skin in the game' makes it personal

Matt Romeo goes from overwhelmed to knowing 'what's normal around here'

By Liz Skinner

Mar 23, 2014 @ 12:01 am (Updated 6:20 pm) EST

year one, year 1, advice, matt romeo
Matt Romeo: "It's bee a fun ride." (Rabiah Kwaja Gohar)

Matt Romeo recently earned a promotion, of sorts, at Gordon Asset Management. The firm expanded within its Durham, N.C., building, and Mr. Romeo now has his own office — with a door.

He's also spending more time meeting with portfolio managers and having a say in some investment decisions. A few of the funds he favored have been put into the company's models.

Mr. Romeo, 23, also has begun investing his own earnings. That step has helped make investment management personal for him.

“I pay a whole lot more attention to it now,” Mr. Romeo said. “I have skin in the game, and I'm watching the markets all day long.”

(Follow Matt's progress:

  • Matt is eager to prevent the kinds of setbacks his parents suffered during the 2008 crisis. A staunch defender

  • Just a few months in and Matt is seeing investment management "up close and personal." This is real money'

  • Matt's been helping his firm's advisers who work on retirement plans with a rush of year-end activity. Hectic is the new normal)

NEW CLIENTS

He also continues to bring new clients on board, which sometimes involves helping older clients learn how to conduct transactions and communicate remotely.

“With one older woman, I literally had to walk her through how to get her e-mail,” Mr. Romeo said. “She was so removed from having to take care of her finances, but she was really appreciative.”

Mr. Romeo, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's financial planning program, also helped another client who had money in a Bernie Madoff fund work through paperwork hassles to try to recoup some of his losses.

Mr. Romeo is finally used to the pace at the firm and how quickly he needs to switch from one type of investment-related task to another.

“At first, I felt overwhelmed, but now I realize that is what's normal around here,” he said.

LONG WORKWEEK

He estimates he works about 50 to 60 hours a week, with about 10 to 15 of that working on projects beyond what's required of him.

Mr. Romeo said he's also made himself an important technology resource around the office, even spearheading a not-yet-successful attempt to go paperless.

“I've always leveraged technology to the fullest extent, and that's a place I really add value,” he said.

Mr. Romeo wants to be with Gordon Asset Management for years to come and is looking forward to growing along with the firm.

“It's been a fun ride,” he said. “I'm looking forward to what's ahead.”

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