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Meet Kirk Chisholm of Innovative Advisory Group in Lexington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kirk Chisholm.

Kirk, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in the suburbs of Boston. It is amazing to have so much of our country’s history right in our backyard. I went off to college not knowing what I wanted to do upon graduation, but I knew I wanted to come back and live in Boston. Soon after I got to college, I knew what I wanted to do. I loved investing and helping people. My first internship showed me the inside of a profession that allowed me to do both, wealth management.

Shortly after college, I started working at PaineWebber as a wealth manager in their private client group. This was a great experience. It helped define me as the wealth manager I am today. It provided me with some insight into what I liked and didn’t like about the financial services industry. It showed me what I needed to do to become a successful wealth manager; providing clients what they needed most, unbiased financial advice, transparency, innovative services that cater to their needs, and most importantly someone they can trust to help them navigate difficult financial decisions.

I spent a few more years at various broker dealers only to realize that if I wanted to break the mold in the financial services industry, I needed to start a company that would be unbiased, fully transparent, and help clients navigate their most important financial decisions. In 2008, I accomplished that goal. I co-founded Innovative Advisory Group with the help of my current business partner, Rajeev Kotyan. Together we provided a way that investors could invest in what they know best, even if that meant they were investing outside the stock market.

While I was at Smith Barney, I was working with one of my clients on a particularly interesting alternative investment outside of the stock and bond markets. What made it more interesting was that it was held in an IRA. At the time I was not aware that alternative investments could be held in IRAs. Like most investors, I thought that I could only invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. This new found knowledge gave me the idea that clients deserve financial advice on all investments, not just their stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. In 2008, I made that happen.

Today, our company provides transparent, unbiased financial advice on both traditional and alternative investments. We help our clients navigate their most important financial decisions. We have accomplished the goal I set many years ago.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Accomplishing your goals is never easy or without detours. I have lived through two major bear markets that saw a loss in the S&P 500 index of approximately 45 and 55%. Fortunately, my career started in 2000. One of the quick lessons I learned was proper risk management. Many of my peers worked through the tech boom in the 90s where it was easy to make money. I missed that entire bull market cycle. My career started as the bubble was popping. I learned really quick that being successful in a bear market is not about making money, it’s about not losing it. This powerful lesson is still with me today.

While we have a very strong focus on risk management with our clients, we are running a business. There are always challenges that businesses face (hiring and firing employees, regulatory changes, changes in the tax code, changing technology, etc). I feel fortunate that we have been able to weather the many storms that our industry has faced in the past 18 years. It has been challenging, but we have spent a lot of time focusing on the most important things, cutting edge technology, long term stability of the company, transparency, and most importantly, helping our clients navigate their most important financial decisions. Our perseverance has rewarded us with a thriving wealth management firm that is able to thrive in all types of market conditions and regulatory environments.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Innovative Advisory Group is an independent wealth management firm and Registered Investment Advisor. Our independence allows us to take a holistic approach to wealth management where we can focus on the most important financial decisions in our clients’ lives.

Our core principals are: strong risk management, complete transparency, fee-only financial advice, and customized wealth management solutions.

We provide wealth management services such as: Innovative portfolio management, risk management assessments, self-directed IRA management and advice, alternative investment planning and implementation, financial planning analysis, special advisor services, 401k plan advisor, and strategic consulting.

Our company is unique in the wealth management industry in many ways. We are most well-known for our focus on alternative investments held in self-directed IRAs. We have developed this niche because investors lacked access to experienced professionals with an expertise in self-directed IRAs. About 5% of IRA investors are using alternative investments, less than 10% are even aware that this is an option for their retirement account. We pride ourselves on giving investors the option to invest in what they know best. Sometimes this means investing in assets that are not traditionally held in retirement accounts.

We have become well-known as experts in the self-directed IRA space. Initially, there was a lack of accurate information available about self-directed IRAs. We have been working tirelessly to change that.

We believe in full transparency in everything we do. We find that investors seek us out for our ability to think outside the box and be fully transparent. There is a lot of information available on the internet. People are drowning in it. This is part of the problem. There is plenty of information but not as much guidance. We provide that guidance to our clients in all aspects of their lives.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up I was always interested in investing and entrepreneurship.

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