Published by Nan Price on
Sep 28, 2023 12:00:00 PM
Tom Romano, Head of Strategic Relationships and Product Development, shares his Symmetry experience.
What led you to a career in finance?
It’s been almost 25 years. It’s not as if I said, Hey, I want to work in finance. I just wanted to be a schoolteacher—both my parents were schoolteachers, and my father said, “Whatever you do, don’t be a schoolteacher.”
So, I started taking finance classes. I always had an affinity for math. There’s something about the idea of your money making money for you that was really interesting to me.
How has your background shaped you for your role?
My first job was in operations. Back then, in the mid-to-late-90s, those jobs were very specific. My job was essentially just processing foreign cash dividends. It was that specific. It was that boring. And it was painful.
After spending a couple of years in that department in that role, I found an opportunity in the fee-based marketing department at the broker-dealer where I was working.
I quickly learned about fee-based business and advisory business. And when my broker-dealer was eventually gobbled up by Merrill Lynch there was an opportunity here at Symmetry and I took it.
I was offered a job by one of the wire houses, but I chose Symmetry because the owners, Patrick Sweeney and David Connelly, said to me: Everything we do, we do with the client’s best interest in mind. If it’s good for the client, we’re going to do it.
I had never heard that before in the broker-dealer world. And that resonated with me. So, I decided to take the chance with Symmetry. It’s been a great ride ever since.
What is the most important way you help Symmetry’s clients?
Advice is essential. We work with financial advisors. And I think the critical role in the value chain is the Financial Advisor. We do everything we can to make their lives easier, so they can do what clients really need and provide them with critical advice, which leads them to a greater likelihood of success. And that’s why we’re here.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
I’m fascinated by all the different types of business models that are out there. They say Financial Advisors are like snowflakes, that they're all different. I love learning about how people are working with clients and how they’re operating.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned professionally?
One thing I was taught and live by here at Symmetry is that the answer is in the room. Giving people a voice, giving them permission to speak, and making sure they’re comfortable expressing their views is really important in terms of driving strategic decisions. Listening is something I think we could all do more of—and listening to everyone on your team is a really good way of achieving success.
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