A Conversation with Brad Griswold of Corbenic Partners

April 15, 2019

He has degrees from Messiah College and the College for Financial Planning. He also has earned various securities and insurance licenses.

A resident of Bethlehem, with a second home in New Hampshire, Griswold enjoys spending his time with friends and family, hiking, skiing, cycling and running.

He is also on the board of the Mount Washington Observatory, an organization focused on climate studies and weather, as well as several charitable organizations with an emphasis on supporting children and families facing difficult times.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Corbenic Partners been operating in the region and what are its primary services?

Griswold: Corbenic Partners was founded 30 years ago in the Lehigh Valley. As the industry and markets have evolved, Corbenic has become an established wealth management firm offering comprehensive financial planning with a focus on succession and estate planning, retirement planning, as well as tax and charitable planning. In addition, our team of advisors builds and manages portfolios for our clients based upon their unique financial position and needs.

LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that Corbenic Partners has encountered throughout its years in business?

Griswold: In the early days of the firm I wore several hats: adviser, owner, business development, whatever was required to maintain and grow the firm.

As the firm continued to grow, our focus shifted to building a strong and lasting foundation. What markets should we target, did we have the proper procedures and processes in place to execute efficiently? Were we properly staffed with the right individuals to maintain or enhance the client experience even as we continued to grow?

Today as managing partner, my focus has shifted to mentoring the next generation of the firm and ensuring that we have instilled the values that led to our initial and ongoing success. It is easy to become complacent which is why we strive to start each day by challenging ourselves; it is an ongoing process that never really ends.

Our success has come from embracing the challenges we have faced and viewing them as an opportunity. From starting the firm as a single adviser to managing a team, and now allowing the next generation to take a leadership role, at each stage we have encountered obstacles but it is our willingness to make mistakes and learn from them that has driven our success.

It can be a difficult balancing act that doesn’t always go according to plan, but we have been fortunate to attract talented professionals who have been supportive and integral at each stage of our development.

LVB: What is your guiding philosophy as a business leader?

Griswold: I enjoy the quote by John Maxwell of “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

Leadership should provide a vision, a path forward, and the ability to pivot when things don’t go according to plan. Leaders should empower their team to never be satisfied with the status quo, to make mistakes and learn from them and never lose sight of what is important.

However, while communicating the vision is critical, culture can determine success. Creating a diverse and creative team that truly enjoys working together can provide an environment that is both dynamic and rewarding. It is the people, their relationships to each other and our clients that is truly important.

LVB: If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

Griswold: Too many financial professionals focus solely on the mechanics of our profession. We measure them by their ability to beat an arbitrary benchmark or provide relative outperformance. What we really need are professionals who are willing to take the time to invest in their clients personally. At the end of the day this isn’t just about numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s about relationships.

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