Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
3:43 pm EDT
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Investing in Life Together

Fross & Fross continues its 20-plus year commitment of treating clients as family.


Fross & Fross Wealth Management has been servicing families in The Villages for more than two decades with personalized care and compassion, and that devoted commitment will continue.

The firm announced it plans to open a second Villages location in the downtown Brownwood area, 2662 West Torch Drive, by spring 2022.

“As we saw the phenomenal growth taking place south of State Road 44, we also saw the need to expand locations so we could service our clients that live in that new area,” says Thomas “Thom” Fross, president and CEO of Fross & Fross.

The professionals at the firm specializes in providing customized asset management and investment strategies to its clients, helping them navigate drastic changes in the market environment and the ever-changing investment landscape.

“There are no mulligans in retirement,” says Thom. “Most clients have never retired before; this is unchartered territory for them, and this is the one and only shot they have. Fortunately for them, we’ve gone through this process with hundreds of clients. It’s not unchartered territory for us. We’ve retired with client after client, and they are leaning on us for our expertise.”

Thom adds: “We are staying true to our philosophy of being selective with the people we work with, but we have added additional staff to better serve our clients. It’s better service to our clients and that’s our aim.”

As The Villages has grown over the years, so has Fross & Fross.

“I remember when we had $30 million under advisement and we now service over $900 million and we’re pushing to a billion dollars in brokerage and advisory assets through LPL Financial, so we have had nice growth,” says Thom. “It was never our goal to be so large. We tried to stay small and take care of clients, but we became big because clients appreciate the personal touch. The growth naturally happened because our clients didn’t keep us a secret.”

In 2018, our team became a part of LPL Financial, the largest * independent broker/dealer in the United States for 21 years straight. LPL shares the same philosophy that Fross & Fross does by stating on their website that “social responsibility is integral to who we are as a company, how we interact with each other, our communities, and our planet, and how we conduct business.”

Fross & Fross lives by its mission statement, which reads: We believe our clients have unique needs and deserve an advocate. We exist to provide financial confidence through knowledgeable, independent, and ethical advice.

Thom says the firm remains committed to its mission and clients. “We want them to realize they are unique, and they have unique needs, and we feel a deep responsibility of serving as an advocate of every financial aspect of their life.”

“We often ask ourselves, ‘If this were Mom and Dad sitting here, what advice would I give them?’ If we treat clients like family, we treat them the way we would treat our parents,” adds Patrick Fross, RICP, vice president and wealth advisor. “We make a personal connection and clients thank us regularly. The best compliment is they bring their kids to us to manage their kids’ money; they refer friends to us, and referrals are just a wonderful compliment.”

Patrick holds the Retirement Income Certified Professional designation**. He notes Fross & Fross believes in the “one size does not fit all” philosophy, and he provides in-depth financial planning for those newly retired or about to retire.

“Clients need to know if there is sustainability in a portfolio for the next 30 years,” Patrick says. “Everything changes at retirement—wealth distribution and wealth protection. We do not pigeon-hole clients into one specific product. Their goals, objectives, and needs dictate our plans.”

Patrick values how Fross & Fross provides a team approach in serving clients.

“Growth is a natural, evolutionary part of business,” he says. “Rather than turn clients away, we have increased staff making us able to assist new clients and still provide the Ritz-Carlton experience for those already with us.”

Fross & Fross wealth advisers note mortality tables reveal one in three individuals could still be alive at age 95. They hear people express valid concerns on whether they will have enough money, even wealthy people wonder if they will run out of money before they run out of breath?

“A lot of retirees are still experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder from what happened during past market crashes. They are very concerned about being sure their portfolios can withstand turbulent times in the market,” says Thom. “As a full-service financial firm, we’re going to step in with a very holistic approach of fully understanding their budget needs, what their bucket list items are, and helping them pursue their goals while they still have the time and energy to do those things.”

Each client receives a personalized plan for his or her household needs. “There is no cookie-cutter plan at Fross & Fross,” says Thom.

The firm’s Lake Sumter Landing front office entrance features a statue of a bear and bull on a teeter totter. “We were trying to illustrate the delicate balance between the bear and the bull market,” adds Thom. “You can’t go in with blinders on thinking we’ll be able to balance the two; we have to structure the portfolio to plan for the market doing well, but at the same time have a plan set in place for the market not to do well.”

He says in many cases clients’ investments are their pensions, so to maintain their lifestyle, they must be sure the value of their portfolio remains stable or grows to keep up with inflation.

“Our clients are sophisticated. Their money has been in the market, so they fully understand market risks,” Thom says, adding their clients value aiming for better returns in the market than what fixed investments provide. “They can afford a level of risk, and the way we structure our portfolios is clearly finding the level of risk they can accept, and then customizing the portfolio. That is where we specialize.”

Because of the current low interest rate environment, Thom notes to stay risk free might result in a “minuscule” retirement since CDs are not producing enough income nor do they offer inflation protection for many clients.

At Fross & Fross, accounts are monitored regularly to ensure they perform according to the intention of the client. When circumstances change or a shifting global market requires a different approach, the firm never hesitates to make adjustments and keep clients informed.

Geoffrey Southwell joined Fross & Fross in January 2021 after being a wealth advisor for over three decades with TIAA, and he recalls being very impressed how the entire staff of Fross & Fross shows care and compassion for clients.

“Since I have been in the business for over 30 years, what really strikes me as unique about Fross & Fross is the level of client focus and caring for the clients more than any other firm. It makes me feel really good about where I work,” says Geoffrey.

Fross & Fross also extends the compassion and caring to women, including those who are recently widowed or divorced. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, men have a 60 percent higher mortality rate than women. “We have noticed this to be true in The Villages and have taken steps to anticipate the needs this fosters,” says Renée Springstead, the firm’s first female financial advisor.

Renée understands firsthand that financial planning and investments for women is essential. She originally came to Fross & Fross as a client.

“I know personally as you’re going through this kind of difficulty, it’s good to have a team on your side,” Reneé says, who sees herself as a team member with these women. She often provides them with the finer points of budgeting and financial planning, helping them transition to a new way of life.

“As you deepen these relationships, the women become more comfortable with the financial aspects, and I feel I become their teacher, counselor, and confidante as well as a shoulder to cry on when needed,” says Reneé says, who strives to empower her clients and educate them on how to make the best decisions for their personal financial future.

“Women have been an underserved and underestimated part of the population. My goal is to take them from being uninvolved in their finances to being confident in their financial picture,” says Reneé. One way she does this is by offering “Teatime with Reneé,” a support group for about 80 widows to broaden their social circle while meeting for fellowship, an entertaining educational program, along with gaining some financial knowledge from Reneé.

“It has been a very, very rewarding part of my career,” Reneé says adding the widow women have “a special place in my heart.” She also serves as a Fross & Fross firm wealth adviser for couples, children of families, and area entrepreneurs.

Fross & Fross provides access to all types of investments and the following financial services:

  • Comprehensive Financial Lifestyle Planning
  • Legacy, Estate, and Philanthropy Planning
  • Tax Minimization Strategies
  • Risk Management and Asset Preservation
  • Enhanced Portfolio Reporting
  • Frequent Communication and Education
  • VIP Access to Private Client Events


910 Old Camp Road,

Lake Sumter Landing

*As reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2020, based on total revenue. **RICP conferred by The American College.

Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial. A registered investment advisor. Member FINRA &SIPC. All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. The views listed above of brokerage clients, may not be representative of the views of other clients and are not indicative of future performance or success.

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