WHEELING - Strengthening roots while feeding healthy plans for growth are vital branches of one local company's approach to serving clients.
When David McKinley, president and managing director of McKinley Carter Wealth Services, founded his independent, client-focused advisory firm in 2003, he wanted to provide clients comprehensive services at an uncommon fiduciary standard on a fee-only basis.
To develop that vision, McKinley garnered a staff of accomplished professionals with varying and often complementary backgrounds.
McKinley Carter Wealth Services Wheeling office, located in Bennett Square, is one of the advisory firm’s five offices.
David McKinley, president and managing director of McKinley Carter Wealth Services, said the independent advisory firm manages over $750 million in assets. By 2020, McKinley Carter hopes to extend services to a larger group of clients and manage more than $2 billion in assets.
At McKinley Carter, financial strategists make overall assessments of client situations, expert investment professionals manage client portfolios, and those including accountants, attorneys and others with banking and insurance backgrounds work with clients' outside tax, legal, insurance and banking advisers.
The business addresses the total financial situations of individuals and families, business owners and their employees and nonprofit organizations and their donors.
Headquartered in Wheeling at Bennett Square, McKinley Carter has also planted West Virginia offices in Parkersburg and Charleston, a Pennsylvania office in Pittsburgh and a Maryland office in Gaithersburg.
"We're proud to be based in Wheeling, W.Va., and be able to compete in this region and beyond, attracting accomplished professionals and clients that appreciate our commitment to their total financial situation," said McKinley, a lifelong Wheeling resident who worked in financial services for more than a decade before establishing his practice.
An independent Registered Investment Advisory firm, McKinley Carter is legally required to act with clients' best interest in mind, said McKinley. The firm works with hundreds of different clients in 30 states.
"We're a quiet success story in Wheeling. I don't think most people have any idea how much the firm has grown," McKinley said. "Industry observers have noticed our forward-thinking, uncommon practices and extraordinary results."
In the top 5 percent of advisory firms in the country with more than 30 employees managing more than $750 million in assets, the business shadows the average independent advisory firm that has six to seven employees and manages less than $200 million in assets.
However, "being big for the sake of being big is not sufficient," according to McKinley. A commitment to excellence in serving clients remains the driving force behind the firm. McKinley Carter maintains an average client-to-adviser ratio of 50-to-1, allowing the team to best care for client needs.
With more room to grow, McKinley Carter invests in advisers' professional development, a highly-trained support staff and a robust technology platform. McKinley said a key focus moving forward is continuing to invest in developing the capabilities and capacity of the firm's institutional services group, including retirement plan services and nonprofit advisory services. The firm is well-established in wealth management, the third type of service offered.
By the decade's end, McKinley Carter hopes to extend services to a larger group of clients and manage more than $2 billion in assets.