War Vet Builds Three-Gen Advisory Business With One Emphasis

Arthur Martin, 91, has built a nine-member team with skills beyond money management.

Arthur Martin doesn’t brag about the impact he’s made on his family, but as three generations of Martin men sit around the table at the home he purchased for them in the 1960s, they can’t help but reflect on the legacy the 91-year-old has created.

Martin, a graduate of MIT, Korean War veteran and former computer scientist who ran Bristol Myers Squibb’s entire computer system, switched gears to the financial services industry in 1974 when he founded the Martin Group, a financial advisor team at RBC Wealth Management. It was a move that finally gave him the opportunity to spend more time on what he values most: family.

In engineering, the basic fundamental approach is to identify problems and goals and develop systems that would solve those problems and reach those goals. And that’s the same approach he’s brought to providing financial advice.

But for Martin, it’s not just about selling stocks or products. From the get-go he was putting the emphasis on the client.

“That’s basically it, everything is focused on the client. Period,” Arthur says.

A Family Business

Wade Martin, Arthur’s son, remembers watching his father work while growing up in the small farming town north of Princeton, New Jersey, where they still live. The finance business piqued his interest and when he started cutting lawns at age 12 and making money, he bought some stocks and began learning about the industry — all with the hopes of following in his father’s footsteps.

Wade joined his father’s business after graduating college in 1983 and they’ve worked together for more than 34 years.

“And we still talk to each other, and we still have breakfast every day,” 61-year-old Wade Martin said with a smile. “He’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met.”

Today they lead a team of nine that includes Wade’s son, Zach, along with other colleagues who share many of their same values, including volunteerism, environmental advocacy and fostering connections in their communities.

Back row (left to right) – Maria Gaspari, Brett Scharf, Zach Martin, Noah Wiegand
Front row (left to right) – Leah Zikoski, Arthur Martin, Brianna Clater, Wade Martin, Allison DeLay

“What we do is more than just wealth management,” said Zach Martin, 25. “And I think that’s really what drove me to the industry.”

The family dynamic is also appealing, he said, as is having Arthur Martin train the next generation, create principles to follow and use his engineering mindset to set up the business in a way that made sense.

“Art always seemed to be ahead of the curve with the way the industry changes,” Wade Martin said of his father. “When he started it was all about transactional stocks and bonds, but he started wealth management way before there was a big push for it.”

More than Managing Wealth

Art’s early focus on client relationships and how he lives out that commitment is a big part of what attracted others to join the team and help it grow.

Brett Scharf, financial advisor with the Martin Group, remembers joining the team during one of the biggest snow storms that ever hit the region.

For the Martin Group, caring for clients doesn’t stop at managing wealth. It’s a commitment that extends beyond money and into the complexities of daily life.

“We’re very intentional about what we discuss in our meetings. We just introduced ‘conversations with clients’ as an agenda item where we don’t just talk about how their portfolios are doing, but their experience with the team,” Scharf said. “We’re interested in what our clients are thinking, we listen and adapt and take action to help them.”

The team’s commitment to community goes beyond clients. They’ve hosted summer camps for kids and diaper drives for those in need.

“We won’t just write a check, we actually show up and do something,” Scharf said. “What we like to do is have a meaning and a program behind the donation just to make sure that people are being bettered.”

Given these deep and authentic bonds that the Martins form with clients and members of the community, Scharf says he isn’t surprised that Wade has more than 5,000 contacts in his phone — all of whom are happy to help.

“He can connect clients to anyone from land trust lawyers to home health aides,” Scharf said.

That kind of mentality pays off when it comes to referrals and driving the business forward.

“Art and I aren’t going to be around forever,” Wade Martin said. “We have big values in our group, and we want to prepare the next generation of financial advisors on our team to carry those on.”

RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, registered investment adviser and Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.

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