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Financial advisory firm grows footprint

Forest Hills Financial expanding from one to eight West Michigan offices in 2019.

May 31, 2019
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The new Jenison office of Forest Hills Financial opened last month after using temporary quarters in Hudsonville. Courtesy Forest Hills Financial

Citing clients’ busy schedules, a local financial firm is adding offices across metro Grand Rapids to provide them “more convenience in their lives.”

Jaime Westenbarger is president and CEO of Forest Hills Financial, an independent advisory firm he founded in 2006.

For its first 13 years, FHF has operated one main location, which currently is situated off East Beltline Avenue south of Knapp Street NE, at 3210 Eagle Run Drive NE, Suite 104, in Grand Rapids Township.

Westenbarger said FHF offers retirement planning and a full range of financial advising services.

In addition to the independent advisers who work at FHF, employees of Keilen Law and Brohl Tax & Accounting are located in the offices via a partnership.

Additional services provided by FHF partner firms include tax and accounting, insurance, benefits, third-party administration and long-term care and Medicare advising.

“Everything our clients need, they can find right here in our offices,” Westenbarger said.

Westenbarger said he set a clear mission for the firm from Day 1.

“My vision, when I first started this company in 2006, was to provide clients the experience I would want if I were a client,” he said.

“It’s exciting to see so many independent advisers choose us, not because we heavily recruited them but because they know our name and what we offer our clients, and they decide for themselves they want better for the people they serve. I think that’s a pretty cool endorsement that we have built something very unique.”

In January, FHF opened a temporary office in Hudsonville while it worked out a more long-term arrangement. On May 13, the office and its two advisers moved to a permanent, approximately 950-square-foot space at 1346 Baldwin St., Suite 13, in Jenison.

On May 6, FHF opened a third office at 3059 Tri Park Drive in Grand Blanc, a 650-square-foot suite that houses one adviser with room to grow, Westenbarger said.

FHF has a total of 12 advisers and four support staff that work across all of the current locations.

The firm also is planning to move its main Grand Rapids office to Ada to an as-yet undisclosed location, as well as open offices in Muskegon, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo this summer and fall.

It also is scouting locations in Rockford and Byron Center.

As a result of the expansions, Westenbarger said the firm expects to add six to 10 advisers as well as two to three support staff in the coming months.

More details on the new offices will be announced at a future date.

Westenbarger said he decided to spread the firm’s footprint throughout West Michigan to become embedded in key neighborhoods.

“We realize our clients and future clients are busy,” he said. “They need more convenience in their lives. Based on that, we wanted to have more office locations to better serve their needs and make coming in to meet with any of our people as easy as possible.”

The firm currently serves “thousands of clients” in 16 states. It also reaches a virtual audience via its “Keeping Your Money” radio segment that airs at 9 a.m. Saturdays on 96.1 WMAX-FM and is available for download on Apple, Google and other major podcast platforms.

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