Emery Square With Financial Planning

June 13, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — A century and a half ago, way before Michael Emery was in the financial consulting business, MassMutual was just getting its start.

Now, along with that 150th anniversary celebration, Emery is marking his second year as president of FourSquare Financial Group, the Grand Rapids agency of MassMutual.

The process actually began four years ago when predecessor Michael Vanderveen was looking to retire. “Our philosophies matched and he felt he could entrust a business he had help build to me — and do it happily,” said Emery.

And after 17 years in the industry, Emery feels he has what it takes to turn FourSquare Financial on its edge.

Since acquiring the business, Emery has worked to turn it from a product-oriented business into a process-oriented one.

“You used to do one piece at a time; looking for someone’s estate planning and then taxes and so on. Now we know that every piece is related to the others and it only makes sense to provide counsel for all of them.”

Instead of only being able to service one part of financial planning, the company focuses on everything.

“We know how each of these elements affect each other and how they work together,” Emery said. “That is essential to creating a complete plan for a client.”

FourSquare Financial not only has a staff of experts in anything from estate planning to general financial planning, it also plans to partner with several local companies to assist in specific areas of consulting. The legal firm of Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone is one company that already has come on board.

“If someone is getting a divorce, there are so many aspects that go along with that decision, including counseling, financial needs, splitting of assets and many others,” said Emery. “With our capabilities we can now assist or consult one of our partnered agencies to assist the client.”

The mix of expertise will bring more benefits to the client, he said. The biggest umbrella, however, continues to be MassMutual, Emery explained.

He said the 150th anniversary underscores MassMutual’s leadership role in the industry. And if that longevity doesn’t do it, then one should consider that the firm has more than $200 billion in assets under management and 8 million clients worldwide.

The umbrella theme for MassMutual’s anniversary is “Timeless,” reflecting the organization’s past, present and future strengths as a growth-oriented innovator. The company dates back to May 15, 1843, when founder George Rice, who was in his early 20s, and a flock of young mutual companies entered the insurance world. It wasn’t until May 15, 1851, however, that Rice, along with his father and a cousin and at least two dozen more citizens, lobbied the state legislature for incorporation. It was granted and MassMutual was allowed to “make insurance.”

Along with MassMutual’s celebration, FourSquare Financial also notes its beginning in 1890. Emery credited that longevity to the hard work and determination of FourSquare’s people — past and present.

Before joining FourSquare Financial, Emery was a sales manager for an insurance provider and said he has always been in a similar position. “It is what I enjoy and what interests me.”

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