Courting HNW clients in the Music City
At the tender age of 24, Brock Kidd became the youngest vice president of the First American National Bank in its 100 year history. Some two decades later — he hasn’t slowed down.
Kidd is now senior vice president of Pinnacle Asset Management, a Nashville, Tennessee-based advisory he cofounded in 2000. Based at Pinnacle bank, and affiliated with Raymond James, the firm focuses on high-net-worth clients and deals with many of the city’s high-profile musicians and athletes. He manages more than $350 million in assets, the majority of which come from fewer than 50 households, he says.
“We don’t want to be perceived as just a stockbroker,” Kidd says. “Our clients expect solid returns and risk management, but we take it much further from a consulting standpoint.” He spends the majority of client visits going over changes in their lives that may affect their finances. Current debt levels, second homes, big purchases like boats and new cars, are all on the table.
In the Music City, there’s an “unspoken understanding” to give celebrities their personal space, Kidd says, so he tries not to get intimidated by his famous clientele. “If I was ever star struck,” he says, “I kept a poker face — or, did the best I could.”
While celebrity clients may generate headlines, his other clients are just as important to his practice, he says. That could be a young executive that sold a startup company or a retirement age individual getting serious about protecting their nest egg. “I work with world famous clients, but also help the receptionist in our office downtown,” he says.
Kidd attributes his success to the strong bonds he forms with clients, adding that the majority of his business comes from referrals. “Me and my wife were having a dinner party the other night with about 10 couples,” Kidd says. “I didn’t think about it at the time, but every single one was also a client.”
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Sharing the good times and bad has helped him form these close ties, adding that he often attends weddings for his clients’ children and memorials for their parents. “It’s about the time that we spend together,” Kidd says. “It cultivates a lasting relationship.” During the downfall in 2008 more of his clients called to ask how he was holding up, rather than their accounts, he says.
While friendships can make the client relationship more complicated, Kidd says it’s all part of the territory. While there’s definitely a “stickier” component to becoming friends with clients, he says friendship is all about having the hard conversations.
Kidd reads the Wall Street Journal and New York Times as a daily routine to stay abreast of current events. “Staying on top of what’s going on is hugely important to our practice,” Kidd says, “and being educated enough to give an educated answer to clients.”
The son of a prominent local minister, his parents started an orphanage in Zimbabwe for children orphaned during the HIV epidemic in the 1990s, he says. “Like my dad and his ministry, this was a calling for me,” he says.
His family sheltered 20 children for almost two decades, he says. They also helped build a mill that feeds 800 people a week, and started a program in downtown Harare, the country’s capital, to help feed children in need.
“It’s humbling,” Kidd says of his experiences in Africa. “It’s a reminder of how blessed we are and that there’s a lot that we can do to make a difference.”
Closer to home, Kidd sits on a local board that helps raise money for childhood education needs. He raised money to build two schools in the Nashville area, he says, which has been equally gratifying. “Just to watch them grow and have an opportunity at a better education is more rewarding than anything I’m going to be able to contribute,” Kidd says. “The teachers are changing these kids’ lives. It’s very touching to watch.”
Nashville’s East End Prep school now has 700 students, while his newer project, called Explore! Community School, will eventually house upwards of 1,000 children from Kindergarten through 8th grade, he says.
“Having kids graduate from what will be one of the best schools in the city, when otherwise they might not graduate at all, is a really cool thing,” he says.