In the worst of times, having one of the best is a real asset

Published 2:34 pm Thursday, March 5, 2009

Growing up in Greenville Tommy Boyd lived the small town life and, like many small town kids, dreamed of bigger and better things. As he grew older and entered the business world he dabbled in several ventures but none of them seemed to be the right fit to him.

“It wasn’t until I was working on a real estate development project where I had to recruit investors that I discovered I was more interested in working with people on their investments than I was working in real estate,” Boyd said.

Flash forward 28 years and Boyd now operates one of the most successful investment firms in the state. So successful, in fact, that his firm, Boyd Financial Group of Wells Fargo, was recently named by the prestigious financial magazine “Barron’s” as one of the top 1,000 financial advisors in the country, and the third best in Alabama.

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“Barron’s called us several months ago and said they had certain information they’d like us to confirm,” said Boyd, whose firm manages 2,000 customer accounts with more than $260 million in assets. “But they didn’t call us to tell us we were selected. I got a call from a friend of mine who gets Barron’s and he asked me if I’d seen it yet. I told him ‘no,’ but I got a copy pretty quick after that.”

Barron’s editor, Edwin A. Finn, Jr., said in a letter from the editor that this list of 1,000 Great Advisors “represent just over 1 percent of all the advisors who work at large financial firms.” He went on to say “in an age of unprecedented uncertainty, we’ve gathered the names of 1,000 advisers who try their best to earn client’s trust, in good years and bad.” Barron’s editors also said “With Wall Street shaken to its core over the past year, the strong performance of top financial advisers has been one of the few bright spots for the securities industry. Customers want good advice more than ever. Indeed, most advisers in our ranking have been faring considerably better than their employers.”

The reality of a challenging investment outlook is not lost on Jim and Tina Waters of Marion. Even given the broad decline of the stock market in the past year and clients who are abandoning their brokers, the Waters, who have been clients of Boyd’s for 15 years, look to Boyd and say they are confident he will give them good counsel.

“Although the economy has fallen we’re still seeking and following his advice,” Jim Waters said, with Tina adding “We still remain faithful to him.”

The couple met Boyd through a family friend and say it’s not only his wise investment practices but he and his firm’s customer service that keeps them loyal.

“He has always bent over backwards to help us and the people who work here are very nice,” Jim said. “We’ve depended on him almost 100 percent because we’re not very knowledgeable about investing. We’ve been extremely pleased.”

While Boyd and his firm serve clients locally and throughout south Alabama, there are also clients with Selma connections who he manages portfolios for as far away as Washington, D.C and Berlin, Germany. One such client is Malvern J. Sheffield, Jr., a retired tax attorney in D.C. Sheffield married the former Betty Klotzman, whose father was a Selma merchant.

“Tommy is highly personable and doesn’t fly off or get excited. His feet are on the ground,” said Sheffield, 78. “He takes each problem, analyzes it and gets to the right solution for you. He wouldn’t recommend anything to you he wouldn’t sell to his mother.”

Boyd’s firm has been through many changes recently including being affiliated with AG Edwards, Wachovia Securities and now Wells Fargo, which took over Wachovia in January, but throughout it all, Boyd’s focus has remained on the customer, saying “above all we’re relationship managers.”

Boyd credits his staff for being chosen by Barron’s saying “It’s the really good people on our team that has brought us to this place. It’s a real team effort.”

Part of that team includes his son, Beau Boyd, who works for the firm in the area of business development. His daughter, Margaret, is also in the same business, but does not work with Beau and Tommy just yet.

Tommy Boyd just laughs and says he thinks “they’re crazy” when asked about his children working in the same line of business as him, but is quick to point out that “There is great satisfaction in working with and helping people reach their goals by making good wise, long-term investment choices. By and large it’s a fun and rewarding career.”

And according to his clients, his work has been rewarding to them as well – on several different levels.