Businesses of any kind need a bit of luck to thrive and grow, but they also need shrewd management and top-notch planning. What’s interesting is that you could say that about investment portfolios as well.
Novus Advisors, a Greenville firm that handles 401(k) planning, general financial planning and investment management, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and its growth has been impressive, particularly for an independent financial advisory company.
“As an independent RIA (Registered Investment Advisor), we don’t have any affiliations with banks or brokerages,” says Novus Advisors co-founder Christopher Connelly, “so unlike some of our competition, we don’t have a list of bank clients that they might be trying to move over to the brokerage world.”
Working independently means that a company like Novus had to build its own client base.
“It takes a lot of effort to cultivate relationships,” says Jennifer Belshe, who co-founded Novus with Connelly. “Through this process, we have found that our client relationships tend to be deeper, which allows us to better serve the role of trusted advisor for our clients.”
Novus has managed to stand out in a crowded industry and expand its footprint over the last decade (see timeline), both because of their unique approach and their ability to spot opportunities.
In fact, its two biggest expansion moves, forming Lafayette Advisors with Virginia wealth management firm Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management in 2013 and opening a new Novus office in Orlando, Florida, in 2017, came as responses to the market rather than aggressive moves.
“Oftentimes it’s a need that arises rather than us looking at a location and saying, ‘We really want to open an office there,’” Connelly says. “For example, we felt like partnering with Wilbank, Smith and Thomas to create Lafayette Advisors was something that was going to benefit both firms.”
As for their approach, Belshe says that she and Connelly picked the name “Novus” for a reason.
“The word ‘Novus’ means innovation in Latin, and that’s what we’ve focused on,” she says. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for people of all types to have access to institutional-type money management. Every client is different, and a plan has to be put in place to help them reach their financial goals, which are very personal.”