Meet Associated

Associated Financial Consultants & Associated Investor Services is an ensemble practice based in South Florida consisting of approximately 26 employees and 5 managing partners. Founded back in the late 1980s by four partners: Paul Vladem, Steven Fraidstern, Ronald Abraham and Marc Weiss, Associated provides a full suite of services from wealth management, retirement plan design and management, group health and benefit programs, as well as life, disability, and long term care insurance implementation. This holistic approach within a larger ensemble practice has helped the firm flourish over several decades. The younger partners, Ron Myers and Matt Dernis, joined the firm several years ago with the intention of being the successors of the practice, as well as having the added responsibility to focus on upgrading existing technology for the office.

Here is how they were able to successfully emerge as one of the fastest growing, adaptable offices affiliated with Investacorp.

Ron and Matt fully leveraged Investacorp’s CIO, Rana Chander and his expertise in order to make their technology improvements come to fruition, by presenting ways in which the Investacorp back office could support their efficiency initiatives. The first initiative was to implement mobile technology in the practice by enabling office virtualization, which allowed advisors access to their desktops from anywhere. This led to the discovery of cloud-based technology, which would simplify many other costly office processes, including storage of paper files, frequent software upgrades, and expensive computer equipment. It was determined that moving to the cloud would save the office tens of thousands of dollars and this, in turn, helped the partners come to the conclusion that cloud based technology was the appropriate direction for the practice.

The key to this technology improvement was to minimize office disruption as much as possible. That is why it was important for Associated to ease into this transition slowly and methodically, first by consolidating and scanning paper files, then training associates on cloud computing, and finally, working closely with Investacorp’s IT department to ensure that their client information would not be compromised. The partners felt that they wanted to embrace this technology but also be mindful of potential errors and oversight, as well as privacy issues. Ultimately, the goal was to move to the cloud while still maintaining superior quality control standards that the firm and its clients have been accustomed to over the years.

While the use of cloud-based resources is still relatively new for most advisors and firms, it is certainly the direction that the independent space is heading towards, as it represents cost savings and the ability to run a virtual office from anywhere.

In the case of Associated, the younger generation delivered a unique approach by helping to implement a revolutionary solution that will bring the whole practice to the next level. Investacorp was able to support this initiative wholeheartedly by providing back office and compliance assistance in their endeavor. This collaboration between Associated and Investacorp will undoubtedly set the tone for today’s independent advisors, who desire the same flexibility and cost-savings in their own practice.