September marks a milestone for two original founding partners at RMR Wealth Builders, Edward Majtenyi and Douglas Roth. On September 7, 1983, Ed and Doug passed the Series 52 Exam, marking their entry into the wealth management industry and beginning a lifelong calling.
Over the past 40 years, they have surpassed milestones, deepened their formal education, partnered in starting RMR Wealth Builders, and, most importantly, developed meaningful relationships with their clients. Three years into their careers, Ed and Doug, along with two additional partners, created RMR Wealth Builders, Inc. They have spent the past 40 years building their knowledge and expertise and expanding their professional and personal networks, all while being great leaders for RMR.
Industry experience is precious, both for individuals and organizations. Ed and Doug are always willing to share their knowledge and expertise, professional and personal network, and provide mentorship and leadership for our growing organization. Each was prompted with multiple questions from the RMR staff regarding their industry tenure, and both took the time to provide thoughtful responses that we would like to share.
What was your very first job?
Ed: Delivering newspapers in Clifton, NJ, was my first job. I have always been interested in stocks, bonds, and the financial markets, though. After college, I met Jim Barrett. At the time, Jim was a young financial advisor who had success helping clients. I asked Jim if they had any interviews; we have worked together since.
Doug: My first job out of college was working for a fine men’s clothing company in New York City, Rodgers Peet, when I was 21. I was successful there and enjoyed helping customers look great. I had always had an eye for business, the financial markets, and helping people. I have always wanted investing and have understood personal finance. Moving to wealth management as a financial advisor allowed me to combine everything I was good at and enjoyed.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Ed: Helping people plan their retirement and figuring out the financial puzzles. Clients present dilemmas, and I get to help them with their end goals. I enjoy being on the phone, speaking to clients, and deepening those relationships.
Was there a career setback you faced that you later realized was an advantage?
Doug: The setback we faced in starting RMR was leaving the original firm we were employed at in the mid-80s, where we were making more money than we ever thought possible, and jumping into the unknown by starting RMR from scratch.
Through hard work, with our backs against the wall through our early years to make money, we funneled our efforts to our advantage by growing the company to where it is today. Stu Miller’s favorite saying was “adversity to advantage.” We continue to live by that saying. The firm we all worked initially for is out of business, while RMR is thriving.
How has the industry changed over the last 40 years since you started?
Ed: Technology. In the beginning, all our notes and information on all clients were handwritten. Then, technology was introduced. In 1983, people didn’t know much about mutual funds; now, there are 13,000 mutual funds and ETFs. This was made possible by the introduction of technology. Clients have also learned more about investing in financial planning through the Internet. Clients can google search for what they want to learn more about. The software we use to help our clients has also dramatically changed. Financial planning software makes it possible to offer projections at the click of a button; that has never been the case before. New technologies and software create better client planning outcomes.
Doug: Our industry has changed dramatically from when we began. We only sold commission investments; there was no “fee-based advisory.” Since there were no computers back then, there was no software to create fee-based accounts. Only later, through computers and software, could you make a consolidated statement showing many different investments on one sheet of paper. Technology was the breakthrough that created our current business. It continues to change how we do business, from trading to client relationship management and financial planning tools.
Where do you see the industry going in the future, and where do you see RMR in 40 years?
Ed:Investing will get more sophisticated as new account types and investments are introduced and the average 401(k) continues to grow. RMR is also growing as a company, not just in the size of its business and employees but in our services and solutions. Conversion from commission to advisory changed the industry and significantly impacted our early growth at RMR. Now, we are seeing financial planning become center stage at our firm. Financial Planners are leveraging technology to illustrate to clients the impact of the decisions available to them. This has made it easier to service the holistic needs of high-net-worth clients by going beyond investments and servicing the many areas that concern their financial lives.
Doug: The industry will continue consolidating with larger firms buying smaller RIAs. The cost of operating a small RIA is too great today. RMR is now in a great position to expand. With over $1.6 Billion in our advisory accounts, we have the necessary back-office personnel to support the growth of individual advisors and acquire smaller RIAs. We are just in the beginning phase of that growth, and I would suspect that we will double our size in five years. Our firm also delivers a suite of services I had never imagined. We offer comprehensive financial planning to meet the needs of high-net-worth clients and workforce solutions that meet the needs of businesses and their employees. So, it is an exciting time to be with RMR as we continue our rapid growth.
Edward Majtenyi Douglas Roth