By Andy Owens
Published July 12, 2012
The managing partner of a new Lowcountry financial planning agency said the company already expects to expand over the coming years.
Ry Hudnall, managing partner for Guardian insurance company’s new local affiliate, opened last week on Wapoo Creek Drive on James Island. Hudnall said he and his family are moving from Charlotte, N.C., after he left Charleston 10 years ago to work for a major financial planning firm that will now be one of his main competitors.
Hudnall said Guardian is expanding in the South, so when the opportunity came to be part of the large company along with a move to Charleston, the time was right. Hudnall has a degree in business and communication from the College of Charleston.
“It was a very good combination,” he said. “The Guardian opportunity presented itself, and it was the spur to move back to Charleston. We moved away knowing we were going to come back eventually.”
He said the local office, which he plans to move to a larger space soon, will have about 10 advisers by the end of the year with plans to grow beyond that.
“We are going to be creating a lot of opportunities,” Hudnall said. “My objective is to have 20 advisers by the end of three years.”
Hudnall said the agency will operate as a Guardian affiliate, but the financial advisers won’t be captive to only offering Guardian’s products. He said the company will target primary customers of middle to upper-middle income and those of high net worth.
He said the company’s main competitors are Mass Mutual, which he worked for in Charlotte, and New York Life, mainly because of the size of their sales force. He said his company differs because it’s a financial planning company that offers insurance instead of an insurance company that also wants to be in financial planning.
“We do work mostly with individuals and families and professional business owners,” Hudnall said. “I work with busy individuals and business owners who really just haven’t taken the time to plan. They know it’s important, but they really haven’t had the time because of life.”
He said for those customers, the company will focus on insurance to advanced estate planning and asset management, with the fundamental core focusing on financial planning and wealth management and distribution.
“I’m a Charlestonian who is now moving back,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate in the opportunities that have been presented to me. I was able to move up the ladder and also move home.”