Morningstar Advisor - December 2012/January 2013 - (Page 12)

Advisor Profile Serving Clients and Community By Kate Stalter For Lee Baker, part of the job of being a financial planner is getting involved in the world around him. Growing up as a minister’s son in Jacksonville, Fla., Lee Baker developed a sense of service to his community. “My father’s philosophy was: You don’t just come to church and sit in pews. You get involved, whether that’s singing in the choir or being an usher or something else,” he says. Baker, who runs Tucker, Ga.-based Apex Financial Services, got involved in industry associations soon after launching his practice in the late 1990s. He is active in the Financial Planning Association on the state and national levels. He served as president of the group’s Georgia chapter and was a member of the national board. Finding a Path process going into college was, ‘If I get an engineering degree, I’ll always be able to get a job.’ I knew I didn’t want to be a minister or a lawyer, but other than that, it was wide open.” Lindaman specialized in group health insurance. Baker says that Lindaman had a strong work ethic and emphasized customer service. But over time, Baker grew frustrated with aspects of the health-insurance business. He repeatedly found himself doing research to find the best group plan for a small business, only to get a letter from the carrier a few months later informing him that rates were going up. As a result, through no fault of his own or Lindaman’s, he would bring bad news to his clients year after year, something neither he nor his clients relished. Meanwhile, insurance clients were calling the office, asking for advice on other financial matters. Baker took it upon himself to look into questions regarding 401(k) or deferred compensation plans, and he enjoyed the extra level of service he was able to provide. “This was the early ’90s,” he says. “I was oblivious to the concept of a Certified Financial Planner, but I thought there ought to be somebody out there who does this kind of thing.” True to his nature, Baker decided to do some research. He knew of professional designations such as Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant. He contacted The American College to learn more about the ChFC program and realized that its CFP program would be a better fit for him. Baker took courses and passed the CFP exam in 1996. He continued working with Lindaman for a couple more years, dividing his time between insurance clients and his own planning clients. In 1998, Baker struck out on his own. His insurance clients came with him, and they referred friends and relatives. Outreach Through the FPA Althought he’s well established in the financial planning community today, Baker did not take the typical wirehouse path. He left Jacksonville at age 17 to study industrial engineering at Georgia Tech. His freshman year, he took an off-campus job with insurance agent Jeff Lindaman in Atlanta. Three years later, when Baker’s classmates were interviewing for jobs in the automotive and high-tech industries, he signed on full time with Lindaman. Baker says that the decision to join the agency full time was a slam dunk. “I never really had any desire to be an engineer. My thought Around that time, he joined two planning groups that later merged to form the FPA. He began attending local meetings and eventually did a stint as Georgia chapter president. A few years later, he was recruited to join the national board. Baker is proud of initiatives the national group sponsored during his tenure. One area he is passionate about is consumer outreach. “The vast majority of America thinks financial advisors only work with rich folks,” he says. “So we are doing something wrong if you have people who make $120,000 a year and they think they can’t afford financial planning. In my mind, that’s a big problem for the profession.” 12 Morningstar Advisor December/January 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Morningstar Advisor - December 2012/January 2013

Morningstar Advisor - December2012/January 2013
Letter From the Editor
What Stands Between Me and Stupid
Why Do You Use Dynamic Funds of Funds?
Serving Clients and Community
How to Pick an ETF Managed Portfolio Strategy
Tactical View of Risk
Investments á la Carte
Investment Briefs
Unbundling ETF Managed Portfolios
Risks Loom Over Telecom Industry
Outsourcing Asset Allocation
ETF Managed Portfolios on the Rise
Age-Based Options Take Over 529 Industry
How the Landscape for Advisors Is Changing
Mark Egan Embraces Volatility
Alpha, Beta, and Now … Gamma
Performance Gaps
Gains in Momentum
Companies Where Management Teams Add Value
Our Favorite Mutual Funds
50 Most-Popular Equity ETFs
Undervalued Stocks With Wide Moats
The Once and Future King

Morningstar Advisor - December 2012/January 2013