Brian Keenan, CFP®
With nearly a decade of experience in the finance industry, Brian Keenan, CFP®, holds an in-depth understanding of his clients’ ever-changing financial needs. Since the day he graduated from Boston University with degrees in finance and law, he has been committed to building long-term relationships and to providing tailored services for everyone he advises. In order to effectively carry out that commitment, he became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ through Northwestern University and started his own independent fiduciary financial planning firm, Keenan Financial, in 2016.
As president and CEO of the Boston-based firm, Brian’s mission is to help his diverse clientele meet their financial goals by offering comprehensive financial services and recommendations for both managed and non-managed assets. In fact, Keenan Financial acts as a financial concierge—guiding clients in maximizing their professional benefits, investing wisely for retirement, saving for their children’s educations, reducing their taxes, and developing thoughtful estate plans. Over the course of the past five years, the amount of recognition the firm has received has been a testament to its success. Its team of experienced advisors have been featured in The Washington Post, Forbes, Business Insider, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg, CNN, and MarketWatch, and Brian has served as a member of the Forbes Boston Business Council for the past four years.
The Top 100 Magazine recently had the pleasure of speaking with Brian to learn more about his role at Keenan Financial as well as the firm’s vast portfolio of services.
Brian, what was the motivation behind starting your own firm?
Early on in my career, I discovered that most companies within the field of financial planning claim to take a holistic approach, but in reality, they look at the process as a kind of sales pitch. They ask clients to provide their statements for most everything—only to enter their investments into planning software that produces an estimation of when the clients can retire. Most of their financial plans are not customized, and it seems like everyone refers out instead of offering multiple services in-house. I saw this as extremely problematic because the clients of these companies need assistance that simply isn’t being provided.
How has Keenan Financial addressed these issues?
First, I obtained licenses in multiple areas that would make our firm a one-stop shop for clients and lower our fees up to 50% below that of most other advisors. Along with being a CFP®, I hold a Series 7 license, a Series 66 license, and an LAH license—which allows me to offer life, long term care, disability, and health insurances. I also hold a mortgage broker license as well as property and casualty insurance licenses. This way, I can additionally offer our clients business liabilities, homeowners & auto, and malpractice insurances. We have hired tax professionals to further enhance our offerings and provide our clients with tax preparation services. All of these additional services we provide are typically free of charge. It takes expertise in all of these areas to create a truly comprehensive financial plan. Most people have never had their financial planner/advisor, accountant, estate attorney, mortgage broker, and insurance agents all meet together to discuss their financial plan. Yet, with us, we do that every day.
Do you have any specialties or niche areas?
We serve an immensely diverse client base, which is a niche within itself. As for our specialties, our team holds expertise in financial planning, investments (including stock options, RSU’s, ESOP’s, etc.), maximizing employer benefits, retirement planning, tax planning, education planning, estate planning, investment management, trust accounts, investment advisory, and insurances.
With such a variety of services, you must attract a lot of clients. How much growth have you seen over the past five years?
We’ve grown substantially since 2016. In fact, we have almost doubled our revenue each year. So, we do not chase commissions, or pay for advertising, as most of our new clients are referred to us. Instead, our focus is on the long term and allowing our company to grow annually.
What else has attributed to the firm’s growth aside from the in-house services and lower fees?
I definitely credit the people on our team with helping the firm to grow because they’re geared toward the long run. We are all on the same page, and everyone cares about where the company will be in 10 years—not just next year. Our company is all about people. We only hire genuinely good and morally sound people. It is amazing what you can accomplish with a great team, whose sole focus is providing the best service for our clients. Also, we offer an easy-to-use platform for our customers, and close to 100% of our business is referral based.
Tell us a bit about the firm’s financial platform.
We have our Client Portal; it provides a consolidated view into all our clients’ accounts and assets with real-time updates for both businesses and individuals. The interface is very user friendly, and it helps to keep our customers organized and educated about their financial standings. They can track their spending habits, monitor cash flow, set budgets and oversee their progress in meeting their financial goals. The portal is also compatible on all devices, which allows users to access their accounts on demand wherever they are, and all information is protected by data centers that use industry-best security and encryption. Client account returns are easy to locate, and we are frequently hearing from clients “how great the system is.” It is an incredibly intuitive system and easy to navigate for clients of all ages.
Having a portal that is easily accessible must be helpful in dealing with COVID-19 restrictions. Has Keenan Financial undergone any changes because of the pandemic?
Prior to COVID, I frequently met with clients across Massachusetts and throughout the country. However, I can now meet with clients virtually via Zoom, and it has proven to be much more efficient. I am able to be more detail-oriented and am able to hold more meetings in one day, because I’m no longer spending time flying or driving to appointments.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I know it sounds cliché, but I love the fact that we truly care about our clients, and we don’t try to sell services to people that aren’t a good fit. When I am working with someone, I always ask myself, “Would I offer this investment to my family, or buy it myself?” If the answer is no, then I am not going to offer it to the client. I have the security of knowing that the tax implications and tax strategies around certain investments are valuable to people as is our low fees and service options. Lastly, I enjoy working with the people that are part of the Keenan Financial Team. We have built a company where the people working here know that they are part of a team that can be proud of the work that they do. Positive momentum like that carries into everything that we do. I love watching them grow as advisors and parents, as even their children become part of the Keenan Financial family.
Brian Keenan, CFP®
President & CEO
470 Atlantic Avenue, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02210
LinkedIn: Brian Keenan
Facebook: Keenan Financial