There’s an art to connecting business with community. Herman Tiemens knew that when he moved to Colorado Springs a decade ago. Tiemens is senior financial advisor, senior vice president-investments at Wells Fargo Advisors. Ten years ago, having switched both careers and the city he called home, Tiemens used his interest in the arts as a tool to build his business while at the same time building the arts community itself.
He spoke with the Business Journal this week about his team at Wells Fargo Advisors and the economic impact of culture.
Where are you from?
I was born in Newfoundland, Canada, at a U.S. Air Force base. My dad was in the Air Force and I have dual citizenship. But I grew up in Rochester, Minn., from the age of 5 through high school. Rochester is the home of the Mayo Clinic. It was a stereotypical Rochester family. My mom worked for Mayo and my dad worked for IBM, the big employers there.
I then went to Iowa State and got my bachelor’s in business. After that I lived in a variety of places, including Indianapolis for a few years, then on to London to get my MBA from the London Business School. Then I worked in San Francisco for a few years and then Chicago for seven years for United Airlines.
I moved here from Chicago 10 years ago.
Walk us through your career.
After I got my MBA, I came back to the U.S. and got a job with United Airlines in San Francisco as a financial analyst. … Then I moved to United’s headquarters in Chicago. I did strategy planning and budgeting and ended up in marketing for five years. I was the regional marketing manager for the Asia-Pacific region. I was based in Chicago but going back and forth to Asia all the time. … I was [with United] during [Sept. 11, 2001] and two of our aircraft were involved. The company filed for bankruptcy and I was there during those proceedings. I learned a lot about marketing during the good times and the challenging times. When I started there were more than 100,000 employees and when I left it was at about 55,000. I was traveling like crazy and just finally decided to get off the roller coaster.
Why financial planning?
My aunt had been a certified financial planner in Pittsburgh for many years. … I had a lot of interest in what she was doing. … I was looking for a way to get to Colorado Springs. First I was looking at working for a big corporation, but we don’t have a lot of corporate headquarters here. My sister sent me a notice that UBS was looking for new financial advisors and would train — the whole nine yards. I talked with them and started with UBS. I spent five months getting fully licensed to work in the industry. Subsequently I got my Certified Financial Planning designation, which is not a requirement in the field, but in my mind is kind of the gold standard.
Talk about your team and services.
My immediate team is the Wells Fargo Advisor team. There are five financial advisors on the team and I have partnerships with each one. … We are constantly putting the right team around the right client. … It’s kind of like what a law practice would do. There’s someone who is the senior attorney — or CPA. I get involved … because I know how to navigate [Wells Fargo’s Private Bank]. … I talk about basic services but we have specialists we can bring in — planners; oil, gas and mineral interests; real estate management; philanthropic services.
The base services we offer are really planning investments and insurance and we have these core private bank functions we have access to.
I’m the relationship manager with about 75 private bank clients, and the threshold for those clients is $1 million or more with Wells Fargo.
We are constantly putting the right team around the right client.
How did you get involved with the local arts scene?
When I got to town, I went about it in a nontraditional fashion. I became a financial advisor at the same time I came to a new community — usually you leverage your network to start building your clientele. I uprooted myself from my network and came here to start a practice. I didn’t really know anybody.
I knew I needed to get out in the community and I had marketing experience. I knew the arts demographics here are good. My sister and her husband are professional musicians in town. I did a lot with music [growing up] and the U.S. Air Force Academy Band does a Chamber Recital Series. … At the time I said I would host the receptions at Packard Hall at Colorado College. I bought a bunch of linens and tables and went to Sam’s Club for cookies and coffee, and that’s where it started.
I attended Broadmoor Community Church … and the music minister knew what I was doing at Packard and asked if I would do it for them. It’s snowballed since.
My attitude with the arts is: We write plenty of checks, and there’s a big financial component — but I don’t want the relationship to be one-dimensional. You have to be more engaged than that. So I host receptions, go to concerts and exhibit openings. Fortunately I love doing it so it’s not a drudge. I was also chairman of the board of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Region and just rotated out after two years. I’m also vice chair of the philharmonic and on the board of KCME Classical Radio.
This is all relatively new [at Wells Fargo Advisors], but I’m really excited because I want this to be a team thing, and really an office thing, and the office has started to get more involved.