"This business is about relationships, knowledge and trust,” states Billy J. Knight, Financial Consultant and owner of Knight Financial Limited. “We’re here to help people choose and manage their investments, and we give everyone personalized attention.”
In business in Taos since October 1993, locally born Billy Knight runs his own office as a registered representative for Financial Network Investment Corporation, an independently managed full service broker-dealer. Conveniently located on La Posta Road near the Albertson Shopping Mall, the company makes available an array of products including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and NO FEE portfolio analysis, as well as retirement and college planning; IRA, SEP, Simple IRA, Money Purchases and 529 College Saving Plans. Knight Financial Limited also offers fixed insurance products, including Life, Health, Annuities, and Long Term Care insurance. With over three decades in the financial services industry, Billy sees his job as being honest and equitable with all his clients, and his experience has paid off. The firm currently manages over $30 million of investor assets, the majority belonging to individuals, small business owners, professionals, artists and just plain folks.
“A full complement of the typical Taos resident,” says Billy. “Since day one, we have never rejected any customers because their investable assets weren’t “large enough”. I have never made any distinction between the size of one’s portfolio or their ability to generate income. We treat all of our clients with the same respect and know that their money is important to them. Confidentiality in a small community is also critically important.”
Billy has been in the financial industry since 1973. After being drafted into the Army during the Vietnam era and needing to support his family upon receiving his honorable discharge, he entered the life insurance business where he has held numerous positions. Billy first served the corporate sector marketing estate planning and insurance services to clients of stockbrokers in firms like Dean Witter, Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch. He soon realized that he had more knowledge about financial services than many of the stockbrokers he called on, so he began exploring setting up his own business. He became part of the Financial Network Investment Corporation, based in California, because it allowed him to run an independent office.
“That was key for me,” he states. “This way I worked for the customer and not for the company.” Billy first opened an office in Albuquerque. Just a few months later the regional supervisor for Financial Network told him that they were looking to open an office in Taos. Billy replied, “Hey, I’m from Taos; let me help you find the right person.”
He met with officers at First Community Bank (now First State Bank), who wanted someone to offer non-banking financial services to their customers. The officers, who included bank President and future Taos Mayor, Eloy Jeantette, wanted Billy to be the man. So, Billy Knight returned to Taos in 1993. And the rest, as they say, is history. After working on bank premises, Billy moved to his current office complex in late 2002.
“I decided when I came to Taos not to specialize in any one area, but to be more rounded and thereby serve the community better,” he says.
Since the turn of the century, Billy has taken special interest in “Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), a broad-based approach to investing that now encompasses an estimated $2.71 trillion out of $25.1 trillion in the U.S. investment marketplace today. SRI seeks to integrate economic, environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions.
“You don’t have to put money into companies you don’t believe in,” emphasizes Billy, a long-time supporter of progressive and community causes. “If your desire is to, say, invest in companies with strong green practices, I can help you do that.”
Billy is well aware of the delicateness of handling people’s money, especially in difficult economic times like todays. While he has served his clients well through the years, Billy stresses to everyone that there are never guarantees in the market.
“Risks in the market are part of investing, says Knight. We help customers understand expectations as each has a different risk profile and time frame. We even make available FDIC Insured brokered Certificates of Deposits for risk-averse customers, but which don’t have the long-term potential rewards of other investment options.”
“People need someone who knows the business and cares about them,” he says.
What’s amazing about the company is that Billy has built his business largely through word of mouth. He has no web site, no brochure, does zero cold calling, and rarely hands out business cards. Yet he manages over 30 million in customer assets and has almost 500 clients.
Can you spell success story?