New leadership for Ostrofe Financial Consultants
Special to The Union
Over 35 years ago, Allen Ostrofe and his wife Sabine moved to Grass Valley, after years of working abroad. From 1970 to 1984, Ostrofe worked in New York, Germany and Argentina. He was a director for the multi-national corporation J. Walter Thompson.
“My job was to ensure the profitability, in U.S. dollars, of our corporation during a war between Argentina and England,” Ostrofe said. “Our goal was asset preservation during a period of 440 percent inflation.”
After 14 years of protecting corporate assets, he felt a strong personal pull to help protect individuals’ assets.
In 1984, Allen and Sabine decided to start their own business. They visited Allen’s father, Frank Ostrofe, who worked in the financial services industry as a traditional stock broker. They saw their business going in a different direction — they decided to open a firm that would provide the full spectrum of financial services, such as retirement and estate planning, insurance, tax, children’s education funds, investments, and other services that are part of the entire planning process.
“The most important,” explains Ostrofe, “is helping people prepare for retirement while building a legacy for their heirs.”
In 1988, Frank Ostrofe retired, and Allen bought the business to add to his own. Ostrofe Financial Consultants, Inc., went from zero assets under management in 1984 to $228 million in client advisory assets 32 states in 2018.
Allen Ostrofe became one of the first fee-based financial advisors. Other financial advisors would work on commission, but Ostrofe was not interested in merely buying and selling stocks, but also helping families deal with financial issues that challenge them and their beneficiaries, or, as Ostrofe says, “the issues that keep them up at night!”
“The majority of our clients are outside Nevada County, so we are a net importer of business to Nevada County,” Ostrofe says with a smile.
OFC is deeply committed to local communities.
“We believe not only in helping families financially, but also being involved in the community through Rotary, our churches, and various non-profit organizations which we have supported over the years.”
THE TRANSITION TO NEW OWNERSHIP
“An important part of financial planning is to plan for the transition of your own practice,” explains Ostrofe. “Many financial planning practices end when the founder quits or dies. With the heavy responsibility of clients and their families, we wanted to transition to like-minded management. We wanted a transition where we could be an active part of that transition instead of walking off into the sunset.”
Ostrofe started a search 10 years ago for the ideal person or team to take on future leadership for OFC.
“We had many interviews over the years, and none of them seemed like the right fit. Who would treat our client families right instead of just who had money to buy the practice?”
“We knew Seth (Leishman)’s father for over 15 years. Seth had indirect roots to the area through his wife. So, over a period of nearly a year, we discussed our mutual needs and came to an agreement in January 2016.”
At that point, Leishman, an experienced financial advisor for 13 years on the Central Coast, was brought in as an owner. Leishman is also a CPA, which met OFC’s needs perfectly, as tax planning is a critical component of overall financial planning. He was named Chief Investment Officer in January 2016.
Of the decision to transfer ownership, Leishman recalls, “When I met Allen and learned about the firm, I knew right away that his number one concern was for the clients and their communities. Allen and I had the same priority, and so I knew that through this practice, I would be able to continue that same model of service.”
In 2018, Leishman became majority owner of OFC, giving him controlling interest. At that point, he became president of OFC, and Ostrofe became “President Emeritus.”
Ostrofe continues to be a part of OFC’s leadership in the near future, while Leishman takes on responsibility for the vision, growth, and leadership of the firm.
ABOUT SETH LEISHMAN
Leishman brings more than 15 years of experience as a financial advisor, including holding both CPA and CFP® designations.
He was previously Senior Financial Advisor/Partner, Chief Investment Officer, and Chief Compliance Officer of a $300-million Registered Investment Advisory firm in Santa Maria, California. Seth performed management and research for all investment portfolios for the firm, along with meeting and advising clients regarding investments, taxes, and estate and retirement planning.
Seth’s in-depth cash-flow-analysis approach to financial and retirement planning helps bring clarity to clients’ financial situations. He looks forward to meaningful and trusted relationships with clients of OFC in the decades ahead.
Seth grew up in Santa Maria, California, and graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Business Economics and Accounting. He and his wife Tara have four young children who have fallen in love with all of the outdoor activities that Nevada County has to offer. Seth is a self-professed “car guy,” an avid (though mediocre) golfer, and loves everything related to sports and the great outdoors. Seth has been a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts for over eight years, including being an Eagle Scout himself. He enjoys getting involved in community events and charitable causes.
THE FUTURE FOR OFC
In November 2018, OFC moved its offices from Brunswick Road to 420 Sierra College Drive, gaining a thousand square feet, wide wheelchair-friendly ramps, large windows with views of the beautiful Grass Valley Pines, and a conference room to fit your family, should you choose to bring everyone in to discuss your financial future.
In 2017, OFC brought on Nathan Leishman, who has the rare achievement of being a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), which adds an even greater depth of knowledge to the financial advising clients enjoy.
“We will continue the tradition of client care and concern that has always been important to OFC,” Leishman says. “Our clients are a part of the family. Even though this is a transition, our tradition of being there for clients through thick and thin will never change.”
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