New Firm Expands Financial Horizons

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Chris Smith was an Infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division, a veteran of Desert Storm, when Edward Jones came around recruiting officers.

Smith said the company wanted proven leaders to open branch offices to help it expand.

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Chris Smith has been providing financial services for Rim country residents since 1992, when he opened the first Edward Jones office in Payson. He now has his own business, Chris Smith Investments, which a member of the well-known Wachovia Securities Financial Services.

"All my friends were looking at bank deposits and demographics, I went to the ranger station and looked at the hiking trails," he said, explaining how he chose to come to Payson and open the first Edward Jones office here in 1992.

Smith has now moved on and opened his own firm, Chris Smith Investments, a member of the Wachovia Securities Financial Network, two months ago.

"It was a fairly easy move," he said. He bought an old home at 112 W. Main Street, converted it into offices and brought his staff with him -- Shelly Sundra and Carol La valle.

"The exciting thing is we're able to offer the community a variety of financial platforms. We focus on the investor's goals, our relationship with them and providing them with service," Smith said.

With that philosophy, the business has exceeded his expectations. The primary clients for Chris Smith Investments are retirees and business owners, however, recently Smith spoke with a group of high school seniors about financial planning and has had a few of them come to him for financial services.

"We want to help people accomplish their financial goals while managing risks" he said. "We want to make sure people's money works as hard for them as they worked to get it."

Smith has a degree in business and economics from Wheaton College in Chicago, but it wasn't until he was serving in Desert Storm that he decided on a career choice.

"While in Desert Storm, I thought there might be a better use of my degree," Smith said. He said he felt he could turn the skills he had learned as a military leader into the ability to help people accomplish their financial goals.

"It's about leading people through the uncertainties of markets and economic cycles to achieve their financial goals," he said. "Investing can test anybody's nerves. You need someone competent, with integrity looking out for your best interests to accomplish those goals. Without someone like that, most people will make big mistakes."

Among those big mistakes: selling stocks when the price is going down is not the best decision.

"I explain it by comparing it to buying a good vehicle with seat belts and airbags. When you go into a skid on the ice, the owner's manual doesn't say jump out of the car, it says steer into the skid."

He said he has also come to see that a husband and wife have different comfort levels in regard to the amount of financial risk they are willing to take. "I can help them find a happy medium."

After 12 years of providing financial services for Rim country residents, Smith said he has been very fortunate in not encountering many challenges to doing business here.

"It's been extremely successful. I haven't seen anything that's been able to slow us down."

When not helping Rim residents with financial services, Smith enjoys hiking and reading. He said his favorite books are related to non-fiction adventures.

"I have three kids and a great wife," he said.

"I love being here. The move was dropping anchor even deeper in Payson," Smith said.

A ribbon cutting and open house for Chris Smith Investments is planned for Tuesday, July 13, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The office at 112 W. Main Street, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information call 928-472-7634, or toll free, 866-472-7634. To contact Smith by e-mail, the address is cssmith@wachoviafinet.com.

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