Building a Life of Significance—For His Clients, His Family and His Team

Matt Nordmann saw that far too many advisors who labeled themselves as wealth managers weren’t offering much beyond investment management. To differentiate his firm—Morrison Nordmann Wealth Management in East Lansing, Michigan—and climb the hierarchy of success, Nordmann realized he would have to position himself as a truly comprehensive provider of financial services and deliver on that promise.

He and co-founder Scott Morrison have accomplished both of those goals by structuring the practice as a virtual family office (VFO)—one that gathers together a select group of top professionals to collaboratively address tax planning, wealth protection, estate planning, philanthropy, lifestyle concerns and other key areas of importance to affluent clients.

By coordinating the efforts of these pros and facilitating the delivery of their collective expertise, Nordmann helps families achieve the full range of goals that are most important to them. “Our VFO empowers clients to take care of their loved ones and causes they care about all the way to making a difference in the world at large,” says Nordmann.

Nordmann’s top advice for advisors who may want to build their own VFOs includes:

1. Commit to the team approach. No advisor, no matter how intelligent or hard working, can possess deep expertise in all the issues with which the affluent need guidance and solutions. Building and managing a team of true experts in key areas is crucial to delivering elite-level wealth management that high-net-worth clients demand.

2. Make it easy for experts to send you business. Other financial professionals often hesitate to send their clients to financial advisors because they fear doing so could potentially put their relationships at risk. Nordmann solves that challenge by taking each of the members of his professional network through the firm’s comprehensive wealth management process—giving the experts first-hand knowledge of what their clients will experience, and the benefits they’ll gain, by working with Morrison Nordmann Wealth Management. “They see the value of what we do directly, and feel more confident referring their trusted clients to us.”

3. Help your experts succeed in their practices. Another way Nordmann builds trust and economic glue with his experts is by providing them with thought leadership content. Every month, Nordmann sends his network members a series of articles on topics of interest to their clients, which the professionals can then distribute to their top clients. Ultimately, that helps reinforce the expertise of accountants, attorneys and other professionals in the eyes of their clients—and strengthen their business. “They see that we want to help them grow their practices and add value to their clients, and that in turn helps us get more referrals,” says Nordmann.

Ultimately, this VFO approach has created a true win-win. Says Nordmann: “It helps clients build their life of significance, but because it works so smoothly it enables us and our team to build our own lives of significance as well.”


Partner/Financial Advisor
Morrison, Nordmann & Associates