Longtime financial advisers start their own firm

Jim Asplin parts ways with Edward Jones, joins Chris McCaman to open Newport Partners Wealth Management in Port

NEWPORT PARTNERS WEALTH MANAGEMENT was recently opened by financial advisers Jim Asplin (left) and Chris McCaman, who stood in their downtown Port Washington office. Photo by Sam Arendt
Joe Poirier
Ozaukee Press Staff

Longtime Port Washington wealth management advisers Jim Asplin and Chris McCaman are off on a new venture since they opened their own firm several months ago.

“We’re community members. Our roots are here and we’re a local business,” Asplin said.

The men began planning for the company about a year ago and at the end of August opened Newport Partners Wealth Management at 208 E. Pier St.

Asplin previously worked for Edward Jones and McCaman was an independent adviser for Raymond James.

The partners met in 2008 when McCaman moved from California to Port Washington, where his wife Melissa was born and raised.

“Oddly enough, Jim was the first person I met in Port Washington who I wasn’t introduced to through my wife,” McCaman said. “He’s been here forever and has a tremendous presence in the community.”

They kept in touch every few months at local hangouts like Newport Shores restaurant, where the two would chat about starting their own firm. Coincidentally, the name of the firm does not refer to the restaurant but rather Newport Beach in southern California, where McCaman is from.  

“The two of us together — backing each other — made a lot of sense,” McCaman said.

Asplin agreed.

“It’s a matter of going forward from age 55 on. My focus was what’s going to work best and how can I keep serving my clients the way I want to,” he said.

Both men said it’s vital in the financial industry to understand their clients’ life aspirations and invest according to their goals.

 “It’s not just helping people make money, it’s changing their lives,” Asplin said.

An example of that,  Asplin said, occurred 10 years ago when Briggs & Stratton  closed the Simplicity Manufacturing plant in Port Washington and left more than 300 workers without jobs.

“That was traumatic when they closed in 2008. It was the worst market in our lifetime,” he said. “I was able to help the workers by not throwing all of their savings in the market or an annuity. I divested it over time and they came out on top.

“It’s amazing when you take them out of the depths of despair after they’ve lost their jobs and livelihood.”  

Since opening the firm, Asplin and McCaman have been restricted from making the initial contact with most of their former customers because of legal red tape.

“The rewarding part is people calling because I can’t call them,” Asplin said. “When they call you to say they want to move with you, how does that not make you feel awesome?”

Last month’s down market also ushered in calls from new clients.

“October helped. When volatility peaks up, that’s when everyone starts looking at their statements and thinking they need to change something,” McCaman said.

They said they eventually want to manage about 170 accounts or 100 households each.

The firm’s financial services company is Boston-based LPL Financial, which is the largest broker-dealer network in the U.S and serves more than 15,000 financial advisers.

“I literally saw their first building being built when I was a college student in San Diego,” McCaman said. “We both wanted to land somewhere we felt we had the best opportunity for future growth. LPL was quickly at the top of the list.”

The framework of the partners’ investment strategy involves customized financial planning, investment selection and additional products and services like life insurance.  

They said they tailor their customers’ investments based on their needs and future goals.

“I want clients to take the adventure with us and make stuff happen and not be forced into particular investments,” Asplin said. “Everyone’s got their scale, and our job is to figure out their level of aggressiveness.”

McCaman also said it’s necessary to coach clients through the process and to remember the long-term strategy and not daily stock quotes.

“People just want to be talked to like they’re a human. They want someone who cares about their money,” he said. “The most important thing is to know how the numbers apply to somebody in terms of growing their assets so they can glide into a fantastic retirement on their terms.”

While the firm is still in its early stages, the partners are seeking to hire a receptionist and are open to adding other financial advisers.

They said the transition to owning an independent firm has been a taxing yet rewarding process.

“The whole concept of understanding, managing and financing a business always drove me to get out of bed in the morning,” McCaman said. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t feel that different. We’re just in a different place.”




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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