Young planner gets unusual experience

Experience of helping to create a business from scratch has taught a new planner a lot about regulation

Dec 14, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

Layton Cox is gaining valuable entrepreneurial experience at Pathways Financial Partners, especially for someone just a year out of school.

Mr. Cox, 23, is helping the Tucson, Ariz.-based firm start an online advice platform to be called My Pathway. With a Jan. 1 expected launch, the digital platform will focus on serving younger investors and those with smaller sums to invest.

Folio Institutional technology will power the back end of the system, and clients of My Pathway will pay a total of about 1% on assets — that's including all Folio fees, fund expenses, access to eMoney and Pathways fees, Mr. Cox said.

“We see it like a social project more than a money-making machine,” he said. “I don't think it will make a dime until [there are] at least $50 million” in assets under management.

The experience of helping to create the business from scratch has taught Mr. Cox a lot about regulation.

KNOCK ON COMPLIANCE

Specifically, he better understands why people in the financial advice business complain about compliance and are so cautious about embracing new ventures.

“Now I understand why it's so tough to actually do anything,” he said.

The firm's new initiative also jibes with Mr. Cox's role as director of retirement plan consulting for Pathways Financial Partners.

My Pathway will be a great answer for the majority of employees in the retirement plans on which the firm consults, Mr. Cox said.

“There are lots of people in 401(k)s who want to save money beyond what they are saving in their retirement account,” he said. “I used to have to send them to their banks. Now ... I have a fiduciary solution for them.”

Overall, Mr. Cox is trying to enhance Pathways Financial Partner's 401(k) program and spends a lot of time researching how to build an efficient retirement plan.

“No firm wants employees or its human resources manager working on the 401(k) every day,” he said.

The path Mr. Cox's career has taken is leading this graduate of the University of Arizona away from pursuing the certified financial planner designation.

Instead, next year he'll probably seek to attain the accredited investment fiduciary designation, and then possibly pursue a new accredited program from the Financial Advisor Institute.

It's called the Claritas Investment Certificate, and he likes that it describes how the whole financial services industry works and makes sure ethics “are in the right place,” Mr. Cox said.

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