In a new episode of Head to Head, Co-Heads of Distribution Kirsten Pickens and Ryan Robertson share their conversation with Rory O’Hara, CFP®, CRPC®, Founder and Senior Managing Partner at Ausperity Private Wealth.
In this episode, Rory shares the early career lessons he learned cold calling (communicate authority and grow a thick skin), how he helps his team learn and grow, and the ways his firm is helping baby boomers and high income millennials achieve their financial goals.
About Rory O’Hara
Rory founded Ausperity Private Wealth in 2021 as an independent wealth management firm, driven by his desire to help people better manage their finances through careful planning so they can enjoy the full potential of their wealth. Previously Rory led his own team, The O’Hara Group, at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. As a member of the select Merrill Lynch Advisor Growth Network, he taught advanced financial planning concepts and strategies to other Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors.
Rory has been recognized by Forbes, appearing as a Best in State Wealth Advisor in 2021 & 2023 and has ranked on the Forbes Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors Best-in-State list for 6 years. Rory also ranked #5 in the country for AdvisorHub’s 25 Next Gen Advisors to Watch list, and recently was nominated in AdvisorHub’s 100 Advisors to Watch under $1B.
Kirsten Pickens: Welcome to Head to Head, a podcast by FS Investments, where we get personal with the people of financial services. I’m Kirsten Pickens.
Ryan Robertson: And I’m Ryan Robertson. We are the co-heads of distribution at FS Investments and together we sit down with some of the brightest minds, innovative thinkers and thought leaders in the financial services industry. Our guest this episode is Rory O’Hara. Rory is a founder and senior managing partner at Ausperity Private Wealth. After leading his own team at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Rory founded Ausperity Private Wealth in 2023.
Kirsten Pickens: At Ausperity, Rory focuses on helping baby boomers and high income millennials achieve their financial goals. He’s been recognized by Forbes, appearing as a best in state wealth advisor in 2021 and 2023, and ranking on the Forbes Top Next Gen Wealth Advisors best in state list for the last six years. So, let’s get started. We’re excited for you to hear our conversation today.
Ryan Robertson: Rory, thanks so much for joining us today. We really appreciate it.
Rory O’Hara: Yeah, thank you for having me.
Ryan Robertson: So, I think one of the things that we always try and get out of our guests is what made you want to be a financial advisor? What made you want to be in this industry? What really sort of made you go that’s the career I want to choose?
Rory O’Hara: For me, I always had an interest in investing to, to start. I grew up working at an early age caddying. I was investing with the local credit union savings account and wanted to grow that wealth to a greater degree. My father was working with his cousin who was a financial advisor, and I wanted to invest in a few stocks. So we got a few tips from him. I bought Boeing, Cisco and Corning in high school. And I got to see them rise during the great kind of tech takeoff and then subsequent crash. So I learned a good lesson there, but that’s kind of where the interest was. And from there I went to Villanova University, majored in political science, but picked up double minors in business and econ. And I took an internship, an unpaid internship for Morgan Stanley my senior year. Which was really interesting.
That was driving into Center City Philadelphia three nights a week, making about two to three hours of cold calls interrupting people’s dinners. And trying to pitch them for a meeting for two advisors that I was working for. Unpaid. It wasn’t, you know, glamorous nor did I think was a lot of fun, but I got to see that makeup. Parking there, traveling up to the 14th floor, seeing this big office and advisors in these large corner offices was something that was kind of an interesting goal that I thought I could look for. And I guess I must have done enough to get the opportunity to join their training program.
Ryan Robertson: And cold calling was something that you’ve done throughout your career. I’ve been reading. So it wasn’t just in the internship, cold calling was really something you used to build your business, isn’t that? And I’d be curious to know like what that experience was like. How many calls did you have to make before you got somebody? Do you still have those clients? What’s your best cold call story?
Rory O’Hara: Yeah. Ooh, I don’t know if I have a best cold call story. It’s definitely a chase. I got some great stories of clients that I initially cold called and then followed up with for, I mean not short of seven years before they became an actual client. Wow. But I built the entire business cold calling. So, I learned a little bit in doing it through that internship and got over that fear of rejection. But coming into it, I didn’t have a lot of family wealth or family connections and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to just, you know, work as hard as I could give it everything I had. If I made it in this career, I thought it would be an amazing career helping people learning more. I think our country is, you know, vastly uneducated when it comes to planning investments and tax minimization. So, I thought, hey, if I don’t make it, I’m going to learn a great skillset that I can apply personally, but I have nothing to lose, no kids. Right out of college, I’ve been given this great opportunity and without having those connections, it defaulted to cold calling. So I would try to make upwards of 300 cold calls a day, and I built the niche at two different public companies.
Kirsten Pickens: 300 a day, that’s impressive.
Rory O’Hara: Well, if that’s all you’re doing for eight to ten hours, you can really crank out a number of phone calls.