Wealth management firm Harrison Financial Services provides an array of services with a definitive purpose and core values always in mind.
Harrison Financial Services (HFS) can be described fairly succinctly as an integrated generational family wealth and legacy planning firm with a team of 22 that provides risk management solutions, investment strategies, retirement planning, business planning and other services. It should also be said that HFS is affiliated with Northwestern Mutual, a Fortune 97 firm and Top 10 Independent Broker-Dealer in the US1. HFS is also a founding member of Northwestern Mutual’s Private Client Group, a select group of Northwestern Mutual advisors and representatives around the country that are exclusively focused on serving high-net-worth and UHNW clientele.
“We are proactive and collaborate closely with our clients’ professional and trusted advisor team, and we often serve to help coordinate between the team and key stakeholders and family members,” said founder and CEO Tim Harrison. “We take clients through a fee-based legacy planning experience where we are able to share experiences and best practices of what other high-net-worth families are doing in areas including annual and planned giving to family members and philanthropy, conducting family meetings, business succession and wealth transfer planning.”
In describing his company, however, Harrison emphasizes a connection to the bigger picture.
“Our purpose is ‘to help families build a better life, legacy, and community’,” he said. “We are a very purpose-driven organization. Our very highly engaged team lives by a strong set of core values.”
Harrison’s personal story exemplifies the HFS purpose statement. He began building his own life and legacy at 18 years old as an intern for Northwestern Mutual. He worked full time as he pursued a bachelor’s degree in accounting, graduating with honors from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and started his own company right out of college in 1998.
He and his wife Traci, who both come from families with a tradition of giving, have served many nonprofit and community organizations over the years and are instilling the same spirit in their two teenage children. More than a decade ago, the couple founded the annual Tim & Traci Harrison Scholarship at UNO. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in the College of Business Administration and have a concentration in investment science, finance or accounting; demonstrate financial need; and have a GPA of 3.5 or greater. Preference is given to applicants who, like the Harrisons, worked their way through college. HFS also supports many causes through both volunteer and financial contributions.
“It’s really important to pay it forward, in my mind. Many people helped me get to where I’m at, and so many people helped me to develop my business. This is such a great community in that way, with a lot of great mentors who are willing to give their time,” Harrison said. “I encourage everybody here on the team to find something they’re passionate about where they can make a mark and really get involved, and they can take time to go get involved in those things … most everyone at HFS is involved in something.”
Harrison turned to family to begin building his company, although not in a traditional sense. His brother and father were among his first employees.
“My dad basically retired from where he was at age 62 to join me for the next decade. My brother joined me prior to that at age 16,” he said. “I’ve continued to add capabilities and capacity, including a professional leadership team; we now we have a CIO and COO in addition to well-credentialed and experienced advisors and team.”
The company has grown steadily over 25+ years. The diverse backgrounds of Harrison’s team include deep financial industry experience with more than 30 cumulative post-graduate credentials including not only master’s degrees but designations such as Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Accredited Estate Planner (AEP), Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP), and others. Harrison himself has multiple credentials, including a CAP designation.
Harrison said the HFS team values developing meaningful relationships with its clients getting to know their needs, values and vision. That means Harrison himself still works directly with many clients.
“Half my time is working on the business, half my time is working in the business,” he said, adding that the firm’s focus has shifted somewhat over time.
“It started out that we had a niche in working with—primarily—senior decision makers, C-level executives in public companies,” Harrison explained. “We did and still do a fair amount of work with key executives in public companies, and then it’s really evolved to where most of our families created businesses; they are often entrepreneurs and people who run successful companies. Today that dominates our client base.”
As an entrepreneur himself, Harrison shared he can especially relate to those clients.
“That’s different than many financial advisors. We own our own successful business and understand what it takes to own and operate a growing company. What is also different is that we’re now serving about a third of our families multi-generationally.”
Another differentiator is that HFS doesn’t have proprietary traditional investment products, Harrison said.
“We are licensed with many of the top carriers on the insurance side and we are an independent on the investment side,” he said.
The company has slightly over a billion dollars in investment and insurance assets under advisement on behalf of clients, Harrison said, which is noteworthy for a firm of its size. Both Barron’s and Forbes have included Tim and HFS on their list of best-in-state advisors2. HFS has also received consistent recognition from several local publications’ reader-driven “best of” lists.
“Our client retention has remained above 99-plus percent for a decade, which in our industry is very high. And we’ve had a world-class net promoter score (NPS, a leading metric for measuring customer loyalty)3. A world-class ranking by your clients means a lot,” Harrison said. “The majority of our clientele is within the Omaha metro area, but we do have a York, Nebraska, office also. We have a partner there and I’ve known him for 25 years, and he serves a lot of the central and western part of the state and ag community.”
Harrison shared he spent some time in Los Angeles and Miami Beach in his single days, which helped connect him to some important clients, but he was drawn back to his hometown, where he chose to grow his business and raise his family. And build a better life, legacy and community.
“I think Omaha is such a special place, and you have a lot of people here that care about community,” he said. “It’s impactful and rewarding sitting down face-to-face and working with families. I get a lot out of that; my whole team does. We enjoy helping clients and getting to know them.”