As part of my series about the “How to Navigate and Succeed in the Modern World of Finance,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Nash Subotic, CEO of WestPac Wealth Partners.
Nash started as an advisor at John Hancock Honolulu office where he began his career in the financial field and quickly moved into a leadership position. In September 2007, he founded WestPac Wealth Partners, and grew the company along with his leadership team from three to 50 Financial Representatives in less than five years.
In September of 2012, the opportunity arose to expand beyond Hawaii to California and Nevada where he established WestPac Wealth Partners. By the end of 2018, the company had ten locations , 7 states, and over 150 Financial Representatives with offices in Honolulu, San Diego, Bay Area, La Jolla, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, Montana, Scottsdale and Orange County.
As the Chief Executive Officer of WestPac Wealth Partners and Affiliates, Nash oversees the strategic direction of the firm, talent acquisition, and advises high net worth clients. Nash is a Registered Principal, he holds Series 7, 65, 63, 24, and Life & Health licenses.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I originally came from war-torn Bosnia on a basketball scholarship. I have always been driven to start something that would make an impact on others in the world, a passion to help. Shortly after college, I was reflecting on this and saw two major ways and groups of people necessary to make this impact. The first would be through the type of people we could serve and the second would be the type of people that would be providing the service. It was at this time that the idea of becoming an entrepreneur in the financial service industry caught my attention because I could be the master of my own financial destiny and help others feel more financially confident. We only have one life and we all want to do the best with it. I chose financial services because I felt I could have a huge impact on other people’s lives.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
I am sure there are some, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. That said, I do not spend a lot of time looking in the past. Usually I find myself focusing on the present and how today’s decisions will impact the future.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
That’s a tough question as there are so many good books out there. That said, I would go with Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why, How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.” It’s a great book as are all of his books.
I’m constantly reading. In life you are paid for either what you “DO” or for what you “KNOW”. The only way to know more is to experience it yourself or read from the experiences of others. This is probably the number one reason why I am such an avid reader.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now at WestPac Wealth Partners ? How do you think that will help people?
We are always working on new projects. We aren’t satisfied with what we were able to accomplish last year. We want to always be improving our processes, systems and ourselves. A recent improvement that we released was an upgrade to our proprietary onboarding process, which we’ve called “The WestPac Way.” This system allows us to coach and develop the members of our firm in a way that helps them become the best version of themselves. If we can help others become the best version of themselves, then we will not only continue to have a fantastic company, but we will be creating better communities everywhere we go.
Thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the central focus of our discussion. Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
As mentioned earlier, my goal has always been to make a greater impact in the people I’m able to serve. I judge my success in life by my ability to positively impact the people I come in contact with and that has become a mantra for our firm. We want all of our advisors to live with this vision.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Being a CEO, you are guaranteed to have ups and downs. When I have these moments, I always like to stop and look at the situation as I try to balance a long-term and short-term vision. You see, no matter what happens today, I need to look at it and consider if it will have an impact 20 years from now. If it won’t, then I don’t stress too much about it.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
At WestPac we are believers in life work integration. Meaning, in life, we all prefer to work with people we like and who we share common interests with. We teach our reps how to take this perspective as they develop relationships with other influential people in their communities (Centers of Influence) and as a personal litmus test as they authentically get involved with associations.
If a fellow CEO would ask you for advice about whether to bootstrap or to look for VC capital, how would you help them weigh the pros and cons of that decision?
It’s hard to tell how someone else should start their business. What I can say, is what’s worked for us. As a firm, we have chosen to lead from the front. We can’t ask one of our team members to do something that either a) we aren’t willing to do or b) we haven’t done before. WestPac was started using the bootstrap approach and we encourage our representatives to take that approach as well.
What measure do you use to determine the value of a company? What advice would you give to other leaders about how to get an optimal evaluation of their business?
As a bottom line, we measure our success by the positive impact we are able to have in the communities that we serve. If you want to get to the numbers, we have been able to grow by 20% year over year, a tough thing to do once you’ve been in business for as long as we have. With such growth, we are able to essentially double our revenue every 4 years and, more importantly, we are able to positively impact more people.
What would you advise to a founder who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
For us, it’s about the vision. If you have a clear vision, the other things are just “things” and they won’t get in the way. If you do have a clear vision and are still having a difficult time growing, my experience has been that you need to go back to the fundamentals of your business.
What are the most common finance mistakes you have seen other businesses make? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?
Too often people either play it too safe or take on too much risk. From my experience the younger companies are taking more risk than they can handle and the older companies are afraid of taking the risk that might disrupt what they already have. For me, I look at the risks and think of best and worst case scenarios. If I like the opportunity and I can handle the worst case scenario, there’s a high likelihood that we’ll take the chance.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to succeed in the modern finance industry? Please share a story or an example for each.
At WestPac wave adopted 10 Do’s and Don’ts — Sorry it’s not five. We came up with these items in the early stages of our firm and we’ve found that if people will stick to these, their chances of success dramatically increase.
- Be a Philomath
- Be Humble
- Be Grateful
- Be Punctual
- Be Diligent
- Be Generous
- Be Positive
- Be Responsible
- Be Thankful
- Be Honest
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Only 3 percent of American’s write down their goals and dreams and only 1% actually review it. Build a dream book and look at it daily.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I believe we are doing that today. Not only are we able to positively impact our financial advisors and their clients, but we are able to impact our clients, families, co-workers, employee’s, essentially entire communities have been positively impacted from the work we do.
People spend so much of their life earning a living and spending the money that they earn. Most of the pleasures and pains we experience in life are impacted by income. Either your parent’s income when you were a child, your income today or the income you will draw from in retirement. Those incomes impact the home we live in, cars we drive, donations we make to charities even our health. Without income (or cash flow) these items will be diminished or depleted. What we do helps people protect that income and grow it so they can have access to it when they need it most.
How can our readers follow you online?
Of course, they can always just Google my name. But if they are looking to follow me, the best route is probably through LinkedIn.
Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). OSJ: 4275 Executive Square #800 La Jolla, CA 92037 619.684.6400. Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. WestPac Wealth Partners, LLC is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Insurance products offered through WestPac Wealth Partners and Insurance Services, LLC, a DBA of WestPac Wealth Partners, LLC. CA Insurance License #0F93109
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