To this day, when the name “BLAMO” gets brought up around members of Brian Lynn’s inner circle, it elicits knowing smiles or even good-natured laughter. The long-running family joke harkens back to when Lynn graduated from Tulane University in the early 1990s and sat down with his father to discuss his future. Calling it his career goal to start his own asset management company, he even had the name picked out: Brian Lynn Asset Management, Oh my goodness I’m starting my own firm—or BLAMO for short.
As Lynn advanced through his career as a successful financial advisor for several well-known organizations, including close to two decades at Wells Fargo Advisors, he was grateful for the guidance he received from astute managers and the lasting relationships he built with colleagues. But in the back of his mind he still dreamed about running his own business, and he eventually found several like-minded individuals to take the leap with him.
Lynn, a Certified Financial Planner, founded Claritas Financial Partners, in affiliation with LPL Financial, in 2020 with partners Jim Pacheco and John Fessler. Peter Berlin, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, is also part of the team along with Rob Costello, the firm’s operations manager. This month they are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Claritas, a company dedicated to always putting clients’ needs first and helping members of the community achieve their financial goals.
“This was always something I was striving for. The opportunity presented itself to go independent and thankfully I had great partners to do it with me. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t sell them on the BLAMO name,” Lynn says with a laugh.
He did, however, stumble upon a name that encapsulates the philosophy of the firm. Sitting around the dinner table one night with his family, Lynn started talking about Latin homework with his son Michael, now a senior at Cherokee High School, when it came to him. “I decided to type the word clarity into the Latin dictionary and out came claritas, which means clarity and brightness in Latin,” he says. “Talk about two words that perfectly capture the image of what we’re trying to do as financial planners.”
Fessler has long had an entrepreneurial spirit, ever since he was a kid pushing a lawn mower around and asking to cut his neighbors’ grass. He met Lynn at Wells Fargo and shared the same vision, along with Pacheco, of forming a client-centric firm.
“It’s been a pleasant surprise,” he says of their first year in business together. “We’ve been able to eliminate a lot of the tasks we were doing before and that frees us up to spend more time on the client. We’re getting more referrals than we ever have in the past because clients are that much happier.”
Because the advisors at Claritas all bring different backgrounds and skill sets to the table, they are able to work collaboratively and cater their services to a wide variety of clients. “I don’t think we have two clients who are the same,” Fessler says. “We have many who are the same age, but they all have different needs, different concerns and a different risk tolerance. It’s great that we don’t have to put everybody in the same box.”
The tailored approach to each individual sets Claritas apart. “We have a great partnership with LPL Financial and we’ve been able to eliminate all of the nickel-and-dime fees that you see at brokerage firms, so we have no account minimums, we have no annual account fees,” Lynn adds. “We’ve been able to customize plans for the community.”
Speaking of community, being active in local charitable causes has been part of Claritas’ mission from the beginning. Whether it’s helping those affected by the pandemic, adopting families in need during the holidays or participating in golf outings, providing support is of the utmost importance. Pacheco is also a longtime volunteer firefighter who once served as deputy chief in Medford.
“I don’t know how to explain it but working for the fire department is just part of me,” he says. “I’ve been very fortunate over the years and helping the community is a big thing for me. My son is also involved now and we like to give back.
“One of the biggest goals we had at Claritas was creating a family environment. We’re doing a lot more when it comes to charitable causes and looking at the community and finding ways we can help.”
Moving forward, being visible in South Jersey will continue to be at the top of the list for Claritas, as will assisting fellow residents in managing their finances. Clients are encouraged to schedule a virtual appointment or a time to visit the modern, open-concept office in Marlton in which social distancing is promoted.
“We all have clients across the country from referrals and people moving and that organic growth, but the truth is I’ve always wanted to be a financial advisor who runs into my clients in the grocery store,” Lynn says. “I want to be here in the community and work with people in South Jersey.”
Claritas Financial Partners
1 Holtec Drive, Suite 101 | Marlton
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.
CRPC conferred by College for Financial Planning.
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To read the digital edition of South Jersey Magazine, click here.Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 18, Issue 2 (May 2021).