Gerald Hall, WMS, serves as a principal and senior financial advisor in the HBKS® Fredonia, New York office. He specializes in providing financial solutions for business owners and professionals. As a former business owner, he understands the challenges entrepreneurs face, and works with his clients to help them manage and grow their enterprises.
Jerry began his financial services career in 1994. He worked at MetLife and Merrill Lynch before joining Raymond James Financial Services in 2002 as an investment advisor representative. He established his own firm in 2002. He joined with James Arcoraci in 2010 to create Comprehensive Wealth Solutions (CWS), then merged CWS into HBKS® in 2016.
Jerry graduated from Jamestown Business College in 1988 with a degree in business administration and a minor in accounting. He holds the Wealth Management Specialist designation. He is an active member of the Rotary Club and sits on the boards of directors for Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County and the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.
To what do you attribute the success you’ve experienced in your career?
I have three brothers and one sister. My mom raised us by herself. She taught us to look out for each other and treat each other with respect. We had to do that to get by. We needed each other, and I think that made a lasting impact on me and who I am today. I look for ways to help people. I’m programmed that way, and helping people is what I find most fulfilling about my work.
Where do good ideas come from?
For one, I believe that as a professional you have to be driven to find better ways of doing things. If you don’t have that drive, it’s easy to keep doing the same old thing, applying so-called “tried and true” solutions, which, in fact, are usually not the best or most appropriate solutions, because every problem or situation is different. I think the best people in professional services have that kind of motivation.
The environment here at HBKS and HBK is fertile ground for new ideas. HBK has a culture of “working together”; as we say in our slogan, “Working Together Sets Us Apart.” I’m impressed and inspired by the way my partners and colleagues share information – you know, best practices and ways to get things done. I’m literally a phone call away from hundreds of very smart people with original and clever ideas.
What do you see as the future of HBKS®?
I had to consider this not long ago when we were trying to decide if we should merge our practice into HBKS®. The fact that we did is the best evidence of what we learned. For one, HBKS® is steadfast about developing holistic plans for clients, plans that understand the importance of financial planning and tax efficiency. And there’s HBKS®’ client-focused approach, doing what we believe is absolutely best for the client. For example, we don’t have proprietary products or services we have to sell, which gives us a lot of flexibility to adapt as this business evolves and is more and more affected by technology.
Another thing that bodes well for our future is how we’re set up for change. We’re not steeped in protocol or methodologies that are difficult to change. Firms that will be successful in the future need to be able to adapt and innovate quickly – and we can.
What do you like most about the culture at HBKS®?
I’m amazed at how like-minded we are here at HBKS® – and at HBK CPAs & Consultants, our CPA firm. The focus here is entirely on our clients and doing what’s in their best interests. I think there are two main reasons for this. First is the leadership and how they have recruited talent and ensured that only people who are client-focused and share our values become part of our organization. You can’t overestimate how valuable that is. The other thing is how HBKS® is a wealth advisory with the mindset of a CPA firm. CPAs inherently act in the best interest of clients: there’s nothing for them to sell; no commission; no products, no motivation to make trades. That’s how HBKS® acts. That’s our culture.
“I believe that as a professional, you have to be driven to find better ways of doing things. If you don’t have that drive, it’s easy to keep doing the same old thing, applying so-called “tried and true” solutions, which, in fact, are usually not the best or most appropriate solutions, because every problem or situation is different.”