Hefren-Tillotson Puts Down Roots in New North Hills’ Office
Aug 31, 2016 10:29AM
By Vanessa Orr
For more than six decades, Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. has been providing financial management services to clients throughout the Pittsburgh area, helping them plan for retirement, send children to college or save for new homes. And just as their clients’ families and businesses have grown, so has the firm—requiring it to find a larger, more accessible space in the North Hills where it could continue to meet clients’ needs.
“We were looking to expand to a location where we could keep everyone in the same building,” explained CEO and Chairman Kim Tillotson Fleming. “The opportunity to buy our own building presented itself, and now we can continue to grow without worrying that we’ll be in the same position of outgrowing our space a few years from now.”
By Vanessa Orr
Hefren-Tillotson, which is one of western Pennsylvania’s largest investment advisory and financial planning firms, now occupies 32,000 sq. ft. of a new three-story office space at 12570 Perry Highway in Pine Township, across Rt. 19 from Walnut Grill Restaurant. The building is easily accessible from Rt. 19, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-79, and offers free parking for clients as well as spectacular views.
“We’d been in an office in Pine since November 2000, and gradually grew from leasing 30 percent of the building to leasing half of it, then to taking over the entire building, and spreading into a second building in the office park,” explained Vice Chairman Craig Tillotson. “We loved being in Pine Township and were looking to stay long-term. It’s been a very popular location for clients to meet us—even those living south, east and west of the city.”
Hefren-Tillotson’s expansion into the north suburban market expands its footprint in the region even further; the firm is headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, and has offices in Butler, Greensburg and Southpointe, where it provides diversified financial services to individual investors as well as corporations.
“Individual investors make up the majority of our business, and we provide them with comprehensive financial planning using the MASTERPLAN approach,” explained Tillotson Fleming. “We take a look at their entire situation, and create a plan to guide them through all of life’s transitions, from sending kids to college, to saving for retirement, to buying a new home.” In addition to providing ongoing investment advice, Hefren-Tillotson also provides personal insurance products, including life, disability and long-term care insurance, as well as estate planning services.
“We offer the same exceptional service to companies through our Corporate Services Group, which focuses on 401(k) retirement plans, executive financial counseling and fiduciary reviews,” said Tillotson, adding that the firm also works with nonprofits, such as endowments and foundations. “Helping companies manage their assets in this way enables them to focus less on these details and more on their work.”
While many investment companies position themselves as financial advisors, Tillotson believes that there are a number of things that set the firm apart. “The mistake that many people make is to say, ‘I have money sitting here, what can you do for me?’ and then take the advice of an advisor who gives them an answer without asking any more questions,” he explained.
“How can you know what you can do until you know all about the person’s situation—where they are today, where they want to go in future, and when they want to arrive there?” he continued. “Our advisors take the time to really get to know our clients through our MASTERPLAN process—we start by fully understanding our clients’ needs.”
Tillotson Fleming also believes that it’s important that an advisor have a strong team to back them up. “No one is an expert in everything, so you need to look for a firm that has experts in many different areas; people who are credentialed in financial planning, insurance, and investment management,” she said. “Though a client may only deal with one primary advisor, our advisors have access to a wealth of expertise and information in all of these areas.
“I think the caliber of our people is another reason why our clients are so satisfied,” she added. “We have a lot of staff longevity, because we develop people internally instead of hiring from outside firms. When someone joins us—employee or client—they become part of the Hefren-Tillotson family. Our clients put their confidence and trust in us, and that’s so important when you’re dealing with someone’s finances.”
This relationship approach is also emphasized in the communities where the company has offices. “Giving back is just one aspect of what we’re all about; it’s part of our culture,” said Tillotson Fleming. Employees often participate in corporate service days, working on trails, painting at nonprofits and fundraising, among other things.
“We encourage our employees to get involved in the community,” said Tillotson, who serves on the board of the Woodlands Foundation. “If one of our employees is involved with a community project donating their time and energy, we support them financially as a company.”
It is this type of commitment to their clients, and the community, which has helped Hefren-Tillotson expand so successfully since first opening its doors in 1948. “We started by understanding our clients’ needs, setting objectives and establishing a timeframe,” said Tillotson, who added that the company was creating financial plans before that term was even coined in the 1960s. “And we’re still doing that today.”
To learn more about Hefren-Tillotson’s services, visit www.hefren.com or call 724-940-0990.