Why work with us
Offerings for RIAs
- Technology & Platforms
- Investing & Wealth Management
- Business Solutions & Support
- Contact us
The next big thing
Lisa Joyce, 05/15/2019
Growing up in Victoria, Texas — an agricultural area at the crossroads of Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi — Lane Keller would often accompany his CPA/cattle rancher father to the office after dinner.
He admired his father's devotion to his work but never thought he would follow in his footsteps and join his certified public accounting (CPA) firm.
Decades later, it is Lane Keller who is demonstrating that devotion to clients as the majority owner of KMH Wealth Management, LLC and Keller & Associates CPAs, PLLC. Not only has Lane taken over his father's CPA firm, but he has also expanded it, turning the family business into a multi-faceted financial planning enterprise.
Thirty years after taking the helm from his father, it's up to Lane to make sure the business is positioned for the future by taking careful steps to appeal to the next generation both inside and outside the company's walls.
Becoming KMH: A family affair
While Lane didn't immediately join his father's firm, he did choose a career in finance. While working as a banker for ten years during the era of the savings and loan crisis, Lane returned to school for an accounting degree. Together with his wife Phyllis Keller, they commuted 65 miles (one way) at night to a branch of the University of Houston. Phyllis earned her M.B.A. and Lane his CPA.
Even with a CPA degree under his belt, Lane didn't join the family business — a small firm that offered tax and estate planning to high net worth clients — until his dad asked in 1989. Lane returned to Victoria that same year and acquired the firm in 1993, which he then expanded into full-service financial planning. Phyllis joined the firm in 2006 as Chief Compliance Officer and Marketing Manager following a career as a hospital marketing manager and adjunct at the local college teaching business ethics and other business courses.
Today, the company operates as two entities: KMH Wealth Management, which provides financial planning, wealth management and investment services, and as Keller & Associates, which provides tax and accounting services.
Lane is strategic about how the two entities work together. He now only accepts tax or accounting clients that already do business with KMH Wealth Management. Conversely, KMH Wealth Management clients are not required to be Keller & Associates tax clients. “We're not interested in competing with other CPAs for their tax business," explains Lane.
Recruiting young talent
While Keller & Associates recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and KMH Wealth Management turned 20, the firm is committed to thriving well into the future. Lane's succession plan relies heavily on bringing in young talent to ensure that the firms continue long after he exits the business. Today, more than half of the staff is 30 or younger.
For the Kellers, who have four children, a young staff is both a priority and a joy. “Our staff has a strong work ethic and understands what it takes to serve clients and to grow the business," says Phyllis. “Our job is to set an example for these young people to be successful in life."
KMH Wealth Management, LLC
A University of Houston campus in Victoria with a strong business program serves as a recruiting source for accounting majors who want to become CPAs. Lane offers a tuition reimbursement plan to attract the best and brightest students.
On the financial planning side of the business, Texas A&M's Financial Planning Program provides a pipeline of students who intend to earn their Certified Financial Planning (CFP) designation — a program Lane is passionate about. “It's important to me that financial planning becomes a true profession, the same as CPAs," he says. Both Lane and Phyllis are Texas A&M alumni and are involved in the school's Financial Planning Founders Club, which provides an annual conference, scholarships, interview opportunities and continuing education to financial planning students.
Both Keller firms also sponsor internship programs — but only when they have formidable projects for interns to work on. “So many students have no takeaways from their internships," explains Phyllis, who helped create the program. Among other tasks, the program includes attendance at client meetings (with client permission of course). All the clients have been very receptive to the request, Phyllis says.
Finding next generation clients
The focus on the next generation extends to client development too. For current clients, that means encouraging them to involve their children and grandchildren in meetings, which allows advisors to begin to build a rapport with the younger family members. “If you don't have a relationship with the next generation, they will hire a different advisor," notes Lane.
To target brand-new younger clients, KMH three years ago launched its XY Now Plan. The program targets clients under age 40 with high incomes but limited investable assets. Clients pay a monthly subscription fee ($100 to $125 depending on the level of services selected) in exchange for coaching and two meetings per year which can take place either face-to-face or virtually. Once an XY Now Plan client accumulates $250,000 in investable assets, they become a KMH Wealth Management client. Lane notes the XY Now Plan has been challenging to manage both in terms of growth and revenues. “This is a long-term investment; we don't make money from the program," he says.
Even though the XY Now Plan isn't an immediate moneymaker, Lane is emphatic that it's crucial to ensure the firms' longevity. “We believe we have so much more to offer young clients to help them get off on the right financial footing. We help them with budgeting, debt management and thinking long-term about investments," Lane says. “If we don't develop a relationship with young professionals, then a broker will."
For now, the company's plan is to continue a growth trajectory based on organic growth and potential acquisition from $425 million currently to $1 billion assets under management. Clients, many who have complex estates, have asked for trust services and Lane has been considering the formation of a standalone trust company to serve that need.
TD Ameritrade, Inc. and the third party advisors are separate unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other's services or policies.
Content provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be advice for any firm.
Call 800-934-6124 and talk to one of our experienced consultants today.
Complete this form
And we'll reach out to start the conversation.
Thank you for your interest. We treat each inquiry with the highest confidentiality. We're getting your question into the right hands and someone will be in touch with you shortly. We look forward to helping you.