A DISTINGUISHED HERITAGEA DISTINGUISHED HERITAGEA DISTINGUISHED HERITAGEA DISTINGUISHED HERITAGEHeritage Financial Cconsultants’ John “JD” Donaghy, left, and John McCarthy III are expanding the firm's services to Worcester County.A DISTINGUISHED HERITAGE



A big player in the financial world sets its sights on Worcester in 2017

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: STEPHEN CHERRY

One of the key indicators of a community’s success is the kind and quality of the people and businesses it attracts.

As we all know, the Eastern Shore has greeted the 21st century as an emerging hotspot in both respects. Not only does the Shore draw tourists and visitors year-round from all over the world, we enjoy thriving art and food scenes, constantly evolving state-of-the-art healthcare, robust residential and commercial development, and a rich roster of talented entrepreneurs and professionals who continue to set up shop here every year. Now, with the imminent arrival of Heritage Financial Consultants, LLC, to Worcester County, the Eastern Shore is attracting big players from the world of finance and wealth management, too.

One of the INC. 500/5000 fast-growing companies in America four years running, Heritage Financial Consultants is currently trusted to oversee approximately $3.5 billion in client-invested assets. It has not only been listed among the top investment advisory and financial planning companies in the Baltimore area by the Baltimore Business Journal, Heritage Financial Consultants has clients in all 50 states and serves as the financial planning company for not one but several Fortune 500 companies. Heritage Financial Partner John McCarthy III has the proud distinction of having been recognized as a Five Star Wealth Advisor in Baltimore Magazine   and was recently interviewed by Smart CEO for a recent book release about the best-run firms in the Baltimore-DC area. McCarthy grew up in Europe and came to the U.S. for college, ending up in Chestertown at Washington College, where he was first exposed to the Eastern Shore. He likes to give the lion’s share of credit for his firm’s success not only to what he refers to as his “outstandingly talented team of planners and advisors” but also to Heritage Financial’s relationship with his broker-dealer, Lincoln Financial Advisors, for which nine of Heritage’s advisors, including McCarthy, were named to its Top 200 Advisors list in the U.S. for 2016. McCarthy also has the honor of sitting on Lincoln Financial’s Investment Committee of the Resource Group, perhaps the most elite committee to belong to within Lincoln’s ranks.

“It is no small feat that Heritage is part of the Lincoln Financial Advisors family,” said McCarthy, referring to his firm’s sponsor organization. “It represents an imprimatur, a touchstone of trustworthiness, reliability and stability that is extremely difficult to achieve, given Lincoln’s very well-known and rigorous vetting process in selecting its member firms. The planners are privileged to be affiliated with LFA.”

Lincoln Financial Advisors (a subsidiary of what is now Lincoln National Corporation) has emerged as a titan of the financial world, with in excess of $228 billion in assets under management. Lincoln National Corporation, founded in 1905 with the full endorsement of none other than Robert Todd Lincoln himself, ranks currently as the world’s fourth-largest life insurer by revenue, no. 25 by assets on the Fortune 500 list and gets top-five, and higher, rankings in financial strength by A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. In other words, it is simply one of the most financially strong and stable companies in global history — and Heritage Financial is one in its galaxy of shining stars and the largest firm whose planners are affiliated with the company. 

For the sake of full disclosure, Heritage Financial is not completely new to the Eastern Shore. It opened a branch in Preston, MD, not too long ago but now has its eyes on Worcester County as the site of its newest location. Part of the thanks for that no doubt goes to Heritage Financial Consultants’ Financial Planner/Associate John “JD” Donaghy. An almost 50-year patron of the Shore, JD spent spring breaks and summers in Ocean City with his family throughout his childhood and up into his college years at Virginia’s Lynchburg College, from which he graduated with a BA in international relations.  In 2005, JD purchased a house in Ocean Pines, and his wife, Duka, and son, Ben, completed the picture in 2010.

As have so many others, JD and Duka fell in love with the Eastern Shore and have successfully entrenched themselves in their adopted community. Duka worked for Halloway and Marvel and Perdue’s Agri-business; Ben attended Most Blessed Sacrament in Berlin and played Little League baseball and soccer; JD played softball on the Greene Turtle and Blue Ox teams, and has sponsored many events and local organizations over the years, of which the Art League of Ocean City falls the closest to his heart. 

“At this point, Duka and I no longer consider the Eastern Shore our home away from home; it’s just our home,” said JD, who has been active with a variety of local civic organizations and currently sits on the board of the American Red Cross of the Lower Eastern Shore. “It’s our favorite place to be and the place that feels most natural to us, because it has such a real sense of community. What you see is what you get here. Everything is so transparent, and that is both refreshing and reassuring to us.”

The appreciation of transparency is a major reason that JD enjoys working at Heritage Financial so much, because transparency is a mantra there, according to both Donaghy and McCarthy. They say that their status as an independent financial-services firm under the aegis of Lincoln Financial gives them the autonomy and flexibility to be, as John put it, results-driven, rather than products-driven.

“We’re not beholden to push or move the products of any financial-services company,” emphasized JD. “We can create and develop any financial instruments, packages or portfolios we want, based on the understanding and articulated goals and priorities of each individual client. Servicing the needs of our clients is our absolute, top priority.”

“Now, any firm can say that, but we can prove it — and we do every day through our objectivity and planning,” added JD, who includes risk management and the esoteric financial considerations peculiar to agribusiness as specialties. “Our independent status is a particular advantage to clients in a highly regulated environment, as is the case currently. The result is that we can offer strategies and products to the residents of the Shore that will seem completely unique to them and fit specifically within their personal plan.”

“We like to think of ourselves as the quarterbacks of our clients’ professional team that they have assembled over time,” said John, who is soon to become a resident of GlenRiddle in Berlin. “We have the staff, expertise and overview to coordinate all the components that compose a family’s assets and finances. From the lawyers and CPAs to the insurance agents and bankers, our Client Relationship Managers, all of whom are Series 7, are outstandingly trained and qualified to be the point person to integrate on an administrative level with the whole team, leaving the planner to act as the quarterback on a strategic level, working toward the financial health and security of the client.

The ultimate goal, say McCarthy and Donaghy, is to create a one-stop shop for all things related to assets, finance and wealth management through detailed and comprehensive planning processes. And again, that means transparency, which is a driving force behind why Heritage Financial charges its clients on a fee basis on assets it oversees. This aligns them on the same side of the table with the client, further enhancing objectivity. It’s the kind of straightforward business philosophy that they say made Heritage what it is today and an extensive service model they have designed for their clients unique in their industry. Heritage Financial has an impeccable track record and $3.5 billion in client-invested assets to its credit; their business model not only serves their client roster best but also attests most elegantly to the confidence they have in the skill and integrity of their company.



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