"Something had been nagging me ever since I landed in Houston. I read the names of the many sponsors as I walked the conference floor. The convention hall was lined with rows of booths manned by eager, well-versed professionals ready to discuss their particular investment products. They were wholesalers who were affiliated with our broker/dealer and were here to help us understand the nuances of their offerings so we could intelligently explain and sell them to clients. 

"That evening, we mixed and dined in a suite at an Astros game and in conversation with one of the sponsors I asked off-handedly, “So how much did it cost you to be a sponsor of this event?” He answered flatly, “Fifty grand.” It was then that it hit me. The sponsors had to be here if they wanted access to us. I made it a point to quiz other sponsors about their buy-in for the event. There were levels of sponsorship ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. I later cross-referenced the attendees with our “approved vendors” list for products. It was no surprise as to who made the top of the list.

"My notion that I was my client’s fiduciary was turned on its head. I was actually my broker/dealer’s fiduciary – I sold their approved products and the approved investment product list seemed to have a strong correlation with the sponsor’s willingness to “pay to play”. Was this a financial advantage for our clients? I think not! It was then I realized we had customers, not clients and this didn’t feel very good.

"I left that conference wondering what to do. It was shortly after the conference that I learned about becoming RIA only and being a fee-based advisor. I made the jump and left our broker/dealer in 2005.  So now we had no broker/dealer, no investment products to sell, just the best advice and planning dedicated to creating results for my clients. Now that is a true fiduciary and that is why I do what I do.

"Frontier is a family business and is owned by our family trust. It was a dream of my father’s for my brother and me to be close and work together. In a tangible way, Frontier has made that a reality.  If he was still here, I feel this would make him proud. 

"In 2005, we opened our Brentwood office and in 2017 we opened our office in downtown Franklin. I have seen both sides of the market. I have helped clients celebrate the good times and weather the challenges. I feel this is an integral part of my responsibility. 

"Everyday I get to do what I love – I get to help others achieve their dreams and make plans that will matter for their loved ones for years to come… and I find that priceless."


- Jeff Benson