Shifting the financial focus

Dillan Micus

Dillan Micus: Under his leadership since 2006, AXA Advisors Southwest has grown from approximately $5 million to more than $18 million a year and averaged a 30 percent increase in staff each year – even during the recession.

Many fail to plan how retirement funds will be distributed, Micus says

Az Business: What challenges do you see your generation facing in regard to wealth management?

Dillan Micus: In regard to helping people my age with their actual wealth management challenges, I empower my team to use our Retirement Income Distribution Strategy (RIDS). Often, people spend all of their time focusing on pre-retirement accumulation, but fail to plan how those assets will be distributed during retirement, based on the things they want to actually do and places they actually want to go. This way of planning also neglects to address the most common risk factors that threaten one’s seemingly perfectly planned retirement years – longevity, inflation, taxes, interest rates, volatility and emotions. Through RIDS, we help our clients organize their money into three buckets – a cash reserve bucket, lifestyle bucket and inflation fix bucket – thereby creating a greater level of certainty that they will be able to live the lifestyle they want to live in retirement.

Moving on to actual wealth managers in my generation, I see two clear challenges, both of which AXA seeks to turn into opportunities.

First, those in my generation are neither “starting out” in their wealth management careers, nor approaching retirement. More often than not, they are eager for autonomy. So, we give it to them via an uncommon approach to comprehensive planning I developed called “Firm of Firms,” which empowers our best people to launch their own firms with our back-end support. This, in turn, allows our clients to receive a very high level of support and resources through one specific firm while getting the experience of other firms within the family of offices to focus on each integral part of financial management.

Second, those in my generation grew up very close to the “Me Generation,” but it is critical that those in my industry focus on being a “We” generation, meaning community engagement and servant leadership. I model this as a long-time member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale board as well as my work as a Thunderbird. Our office also sets aside one day each year to volunteer together, even going so far as to put on our own charity event as a team.