September 2016 Special Section

Falcon Financial Management: Getting By With A Little Help From Your Friends


Written By: Ramon Pena

Jeff Davis hands out special business cards these days. Many of them are adorned with the word “Mahalo,” the Hawaiian word for giving thanks, but what’s really special are the personal, unique drawings Davis creates on each one — a reflection of the extreme personal attention he gives to each client.

The president of Falcon Financial Management, Davis arrives to the office every day in a nice shirt and comfortable jeans, although some days it could be shorts and flip-flops.

Davis considers Certified Financial Planners to be the most important professionals in most people’s lives. He has 150 clients, and he knows all of them intimately, from the most mundane details to the grittiest. “I know what the attorney knows about them. I know what the doctor knows about them. I know what the banker knows about them. I know what the CPA knows about them,” Davis said.

Falcon Financial Management specializes in financial planning and retirement planning, mostly for professionals looking to secure financial independence, Davis said. It’s run by Davis and Darla Greer, director of client services and investment advisor representative. Falcon arose as the first fee-based financial company in Gainesville when it started back in January 1994.

At the time, fee-based systems — or fiduciary systems — weren’t necessarily the norm. Recent changes by the U.S. Department of Labor have made it so that not only are fee-based systems encouraged by financial advisers but also they will soon become the norm, Davis said. In his industry, he explained, some compare the level of change to “Obamacare.” Countless licenses, fees and business practices have made it so. Luckily for Falcon, this is the same system it has been practicing for over two decades.

Falcon’s Integrated Wealth Management Process™ is equal parts common sense and good practice. It starts with a meeting to assess individual needs, ends with an ongoing review to assess strategy and maintain a high level of communication throughout. He offers his clients a “deep-dive concierge” service, advice and financial management paired with a network of people to handle things like taxes, loans and wills. But despite the extensive documents and the thought-out business plans, Davis considers the most essential part of his pitch to be the core values. Recently, Davis completed the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation, of which there are only a handful in Gainesville. This means higher levels of testing, a commitment to ongoing education and acceptance of the fiduciary responsibility.

It’s predicted that in the next 10 years, Davis said, half of the people and companies in the finance industry will be gone. “But at the end of the day, nobody knows,” he said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow in this business.”

“This is too personal of a relationship for me to want to work with people that I don’t like,” Davis said, which is why Falcon usually takes just 10 to 12 new clients per year. If Davis had a niche, he joked, it would be “old hippies.”

When Davis wakes up in the morning, he’s happy thinking about who he gets to talk to that day — not who he has to talk to. And, between the personal interactions, the finances and the office’s rotating art exhibit, his days are full.

“I want to do this thing one more day,” Davis said. “Then tomorrow, I’m going to say, ‘I want to do this thing one more day.'”

 

RAMÓN PEÑA is a fourth-year journalism major at the University of Florida. He hopes to become rich and be able to retire before his 30th birthday. In the meantime, he’s content speaking a mixture of English, Spanish, and French, trying to kick-start his internet fame and being a full-time journalist on the side.

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