Influential new-age author, Marilyn Ferguson, once said, “Life sends us many opportunities, brilliantly disguised as problems.” Our founder, Karen J. Ellenbecker, couldn’t agree more.
Like many companies, EIG began with an entrepreneurial vision to launch a company that would enhance the lives of clients, employees and the entrepreneur herself.
Karen J. Ellenbecker started Ellenbecker Investment Group (EIG) in 1996 after spending several years as a traditional stock broker with two major Investment firms, as well as serving as a Trust Officer for a major Milwaukee bank.
Through these experiences, Karen realized that taking the best business practices from both would provide clients with exceptional planning and extraordinary service. As a broker, she saw firsthand how they were forced to look for new business rather than service their current clients. And her experience at the bank reinforced her belief that everyone can – and should – receive individual attention and an individual plan.
Karen’s vision for the future was to convert from selling products to generate commissions, to a fee-based business model that compensates advisors for providing services and investment advice to their clients each and every day. Many people thought that this model would fail, including Karen’s former boss, who skeptically said he was “Keeping her desk open for her.”
Yet, over the years, EIG has grown from three employees to twenty-two and continues to stretch and grow, finding new ways to expand services through investment research, technology and good old-fashioned listening to the needs of our clients.
Karen had a goal of changing the perception of the financial industry. Most major investment firms have begun to transition their book of business to a fee-based business model. Over time, investment firms realized that clients want more than just a broker selling them a product; they want ongoing advice and a deeper relationship. In 2005 and 2010, EIG was the recipient of the Better Business Torch Award for Ethics and Integrity. EIG is the only investment firm to receive this award more than once.
We often hear about the “American Dream.” Karen would tell you that it is true: if you have a dream, don’t let anyone tell you that it is impossible. She knew intuitively that all people want the same things, no matter what their level of wealth. All clients want to be treated with respect, receive a good value for their dollar and have a relationship with a financial advisor who does more than sell them something. . . At the end of the day, clients want to know that we care.
At Ellenbecker Investment Group, the philosophy of “exceptional planning and extraordinary service” extends to employees as well as clients. Karen has built a company where family and personal goals are just as important as professional development. All employees are treated and compensated as owners; work hours are flexible; and training and growth opportunities abound. We’re proud of our amazing employee retention rates and plan for our staff to be a major part of our ongoing history.
Karen J. Ellenbecker Founder and Sr. Wealth Advisor