56. Mastering the Art of Succession and Stewardship while Fine-Tuning a Family Business with Lee DeLorenzo, CFP®, CPWA®, AIF®, Co-Founder of United Asset Strategies

It’s an absolute delight and honor to welcome Lee DeLorenzo, CFP®, CPWA®, AIF® in today’s episode of In the Suite

The name Lee DeLorenzo, CFP®, CPWA®, AIF® is synonymous with top female advisors in the wealth management industry. With many years of experience in the financial service industry, Lee is the co-founder of United Asset Strategies, an independent registered investment advisory firm, headquartered in Garden City, New York.

Let’s start from the beginning. Lee started her career at her father’s insurance and investment planning business at the young age of 19. Working with her father Mike, who is now retired, Lee helped expand the firm’s purview from insurance sales to stock brokerage to financial advisory and investment management. And in 1992, with her dad being semi-retired, they founded United Asset Strategies

Inspired by her faith, Lee has developed a culture of stewardship in which she and her team are committed to providing exceptional service and prudent, disciplined daily money management. Lee wants to serve as a steward to her employees too. 

It’s truly impressive how the company has managed to keep the same team glued for many years. Lee proudly confesses that she loves and cares for her close-knit team. Additionally, she admits to dropping her ego to develop her delegation skills and leadership style to give her team the freedom to be accountable for their work. 

After many years of being in business, Lee made a massive announcement last year. She announces that she’s sold 80% of her family-run company to 2 very special, employee-partners, one of them being her nephew, Matt DeLorenzo. Fine-tuning the family business for the new generation and succession strategy is one of the key themes of today’s episode. Having said that, Lee is not leaving the company. She will be very much still active and continue building a team that will eventually replace all of her strengths. She goes on to say that it’s not just about having the right skill sets, but it’s also about having the right heart. 

Lee emphasizes the importance of being a lifelong learner. Highly motivated to fill the market’s gap and meet the company’s roadmap needs, Lee has independently taken various courses. She is a Certified Financial PlannerⓇ, a Certified Private Wealth AdvisorⓇ, an Accredited Investment FiduciaryⓇ, and she has obtained a license for life and health insurance. 

She’s been ranked and included annually as one of America’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors by Barron’s for ten consecutive years! In addition to being inducted into Barron’s Advisor Hall of Fame, she’s also been a Top 50 Advisor on Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors in New York and named Forbes’ Top Women Wealth Advisors 2021. 

One of the many gifts you’ll discover about Lee DeLorenzo in this episode to add to the list is her ability to craft a Succession plan as both a predecessor 40 years ago and as a successor 40 years later.  Lee is fine-tuning the family business for a new era and generation while managing to keep the same team glued for years. Lee’s story is truly fascinating and inspiring. 

Lee is a modest, courageous, independent, and vocal entrepreneur. All these qualities and more have helped her turn her family business into one of the most successful advisory firms in the country! Lee’s success story is sure to inspire and motivate you to get out there and have “the ability to walk down the altar”. 

From our conversation with Lee, below are our top takeaways:

1. Building the Right Succession Plan Takes Time. Lee understands this from both sides of the deal–as predecessor and successor–and at different parts of her life. Lee approaches succession from the perspective of “What happens if I live” in order to arrive at the right answer and long-term solution. 

2. Love Your Team: Lee credits her success to teamwork and the affection she has for her entire team. She even signs birthday cards with love, because she cares so deeply about the people she works with. This approach has helped Lee keep and retain her top people; albeit it is something that comes naturally to her as a Mother. 

3. Own Your Title:  Lee advises taking the time to understand the different financial industry segments. She says that it’s important to understand your personal passion and skills before discovering distinctive opportunities in the industry. Stay open to what’s new, be flexible, and embrace those changes. 

 

Show Notes

In today’s episode of In the Suite, we are excited to welcome Lee DeLorenzo, CFP®, CPWA®, AIF®, the co-founder of United Asset Strategies, an independent registered investment advisory firm, headquartered in Garden City, New York.

The name Lee DeLorenzo, CFP®, CPWA®, AIF® is synonymous with top female advisors in the wealth management industry. She’s been ranked and included annually as one of America’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors by Barron’s for ten consecutive years! In addition to being inducted into Barron’s Advisor Hall of Fame, she’s also been a Top 50 Advisor on Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors in New York and named Forbes’ Top Women Wealth Advisors 2021. 

This episode kicks off with Lee making a massive and exciting announcement. She talks about why and how she sold 80% of her family-run business to 2 special, employee-partners, one of them being her nephew, Matt DeLorenzo. Fine-tuning the family business for the new generation and succession strategy is one of the key themes of today’s episode.  

In this episode, Lee explains her exciting and unique origin story. Lee started her career at her father’s insurance and investment planning business at the young age of 19. Working with her father Mike, who is now retired, Lee helped expand the firm’s purview from insurance sales to stock brokerage to financial advisory and investment management. And in 1992, with her dad being semi-retired, they founded United Asset.

It’s truly impressive how the company has managed to keep the same team glued for many years. Lee proudly confesses that she loves and deeply cares for her close-knit team. Additionally, she mentioned how over the years, she’s dropped her ego to develop her delegation skills and leadership style to give her team the freedom to be accountable for their work. She goes in depth on how the company has addressed quarterly and annual reviews, which has helped them immensely in retention.

Lee emphasizes the importance of being a lifelong learner and that actions as leaders are vital. Highly motivated to fill the market’s gap and meet the company’s roadmap needs, Lee has independently taken various courses. She is a certified Financial Planner, a Certified Private Wealth Advisor, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, and she has obtained a license for life and health insurance. It’s just amazing. 

Lee is a modest, courageous, and vocal entrepreneur. In addition to the details of the above, our listeners will get inspired by Lee’s take on the work culture of stewardship, receive industry advice and get an insight into her vision for the next five years. 

Find our conversation with Lee below: 

  • Lee’s big news! (04:40) 
  • Succession Strategy (05:00) 
  • The ability to walk down the alter (09:45) 
  • Lee’s Origin Story (13:00) 
  • The Third Generation of DeLorenzo’s (15:00) 
  • Lee’s tight-knit team (18:45) 
  • Manifesting lifelong learning at United Asset Strategies (20:00) 
  • Lee’s incredible designations (23:30) 
  • Lee’s take on work culture (33:15) 
  • Advice for anyone new in the industry (38:10) 
  • The next five years (43:05) 
  • How to get in touch with Lee (46:40) 
  • Lee’s book recommendation (54:50)

Resources: 

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