Director, Advanced Markets
Whether they’re discussing taxes, Social Security claiming strategies, or controlling the distribution of retirement assets, the nine members of Transamerica’s Advanced Markets Group have the knowledge and experience to help financial professionals deliver the best service to their clients.
Between them, they hold 13 CFP®, CLU®, and ChFC® certifications, two law degrees, one M.D., an MBA, and a master’s in law in taxation. But we want you to get to know the people behind the credentials.
Two outs, nobody on, Red Sox leading by two runs. The 68-year Curse of the Bambino was about to be broken.
Watching the game with friends in suburban Boston, Doug Ewing removed the wire and foil from a champagne bottle and waited for the Red Sox to get the final out of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The out never came as three straight hits and Bill Buckner’s infamous error allowed the New York Mets to complete their improbable 10th -inning comeback.
Still processing what happened, Ewing walked dejectedly to his car with his champagne bottle in tow.
“I’m like, ‘Well, I guess I’ll save this for Game 7,’” Ewing recalled nearly 32 years later. “I get in the car, put the bottle of champagne on the seat next to me, and all of the sudden I hear ‘pop,’ and the cork goes shooting across and champagne starts pouring all over the inside of my car. I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was awful.”
As in baseball, things in life often don’t go according to plan. It’s something Ewing constantly reminds financial professionals in his role as director of Transamerica’s Advanced Markets Group.
Whether it’s the constantly changing regulatory environment, sequence of return risk, completing an IRA rollover, or just getting clients to designate beneficiaries correctly, financial professionals face plenty of curveballs. Plus, they’re increasingly challenged by fee-friendly robo-services that have thrived over the past several years.
“Asset management has been commoditized, and it’s become very inexpensive,” Ewing said. “Financial professionals have to provide more comprehensive retirement planning guidance to justify their compensation. I enjoy helping financial professionals understand those issues and bring additional value to their client relationships.”
The litigation life
Ewing’s foray into financial services followed a 13-year career as a litigation attorney. He primarily represented insurance companies and their customers in liability disputes, arguing in front of judges and juries in Massachusetts.
“It was kind of fun, but it’s very stressful, very high-pressure work,” Ewing said. “By the time I was done, I was pretty burned out.”
Though it’s been 15 years since his days in the courtroom, Ewing found himself drawing upon his legal experience recently as financial professionals tried to make sense of the on-again, off-again Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule.
“Those DOL regulations present liability issues to financial professionals, and we’re trying to help them avoid liability problems,” Ewing said. “We’re trying to help them avoid a scenario where a client could become disgruntled and say they didn’t act in the client’s best interest.”
Courtroom to finance
Ewing is a former financial professional having worked directly with clients for more than four years with Legg Mason and Merrill Lynch. He later earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation and joined the advanced markets team at John Hancock. Like the Buckner play 25 years earlier, things went awry for Ewing when John Hancock laid off 300 workers in 2011.
Within a month, Ewing joined Transamerica’s fledgling Advanced Markets Group. Not only was it a good fit for his skills, but the decision to move from Boston to Denver was an easy sell for his wife Laurie and their son Calvin. Laurie earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.
“Laurie knew how awesome Denver is, so she really wanted me to get the job,” Ewing said. “And Calvin was in fifth grade, so he was excited about moving to the Rocky Mountains. The timing was perfect.”
The big picture
With Calvin now preparing for his senior year, Ewing and his wife are entering a new life phase as their son starts the college application process. Practicing what he preached as a financial professional, Ewing started a 529 college savings plan soon after his son was born.
“I’m a big proponent of 529 plans. They’re awesome,” Ewing said. “It’s worked out really well for us.”
The potential for tax-free investment growth with a 529 is just one piece of a holistic financial strategy. Though young financial professionals might get enamored with creating investment portfolios, Ewing believes their time and energy would be better spent helping clients with their overall retirement plan.
“Also, make sure you talk to clients about using guaranteed income products to supplement Social Security,” he said. “You’ll have an opportunity to get better outcomes and build a more impactful relationship with your clients.”
The Advanced Markets Group has dozens of great resources that are often featured on New Age of Advice. Check back for more profiles on members of the team in the coming weeks.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP ® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as insurance, securities, ERISA, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.