Mark Rossbach, CPA, is a financial planner for the Rossbach Private Wealth Management, LLC , a financial firm located in Perry Hall, Md. In 1987, Rossbach earned a B.S. in business administration with a specialization in accounting from the Merrick School of Business. As a student he was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma—the national honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the world’s highest recognition for a business student in a program accredited by AACSB.
Rossbach recently sat down with The Merrick Exchange and shared some thoughts about his career and the impact that the honor society had on shaping his career.
Merrick Exchange: How did you decide on a career in financial planning?
Mark Rossbach: I spent 20 years with an international investment bank originally based in Baltimore and wanted to put both my CPA and financial skills together to help people. I receive a great deal of satisfaction in helping people protect their families by providing life and disability insurance and by helping them grow assets for future needs.
ME: Where did you get your start? What led you to your current position?
Rossbach: I got my start by teaming up with a colleague in Westminster, Md., who had been in the business for 12 years. I met him through Business Networking International. We are a good fit with each other and work closely together with our other two partners in Leesburg, Va.
ME: Please describe your current position as a financial professional in your own firm.
Rossbach: First of all, I am an independent financial planner who provides solutions for clients. I provide personalized service to my customers to make sure their current and future needs are met. I do this by staying in contact with my clients to ensure I am aware of events that may cause their financial goals to change. I like to meet with clients to gain an entire picture of their financial situation, including debts, and find out what their goals are: college savings, retirement, buying a business, estate planning, etc. I assess their risk and how they can mitigate it through the use of insurance and other products. I make sure that clients have the necessary legal papers such as a will and power of attorney to help them achieve their personal and financial goals.
ME: What are some current challenges that your company is facing?
Rossbach: As with all financial services companies, today’s marketplace is challenging when it comes to getting clients to invest in the stock market. Many people fear significant market volatility. Other challenges include convincing the younger generation to save and understand the value of life insurance as part of their financial portfolio.
ME: What were your expectations in pursuing a career in finance?
Rossbach: My expectations were that I would become a CPA and work in an internal audit capacity in public accounting or a public company my entire career. It was not until I actually started my career working at Alex Brown (now Deutsche Bank) that I was very impressed with how our dedicated financial professionals helped clients achieve their financial goals. It was after working with great people at Deutsche Bank and learning a great deal about the investment business that I decided to start my own company as a financial planner.
ME: What advice would you give to students who are considering a career in your field but are undecided?
Rossbach: They need to love working with and helping people, and they have to be willing to go the extra mile for their clients. Students also need to be able to sell themselves and their capabilities as a professional and have the highest regards for ethics and honesty. The only way you get clients in this business is by referral so you are only as good as your clients see you. Your reputation can make or break you and your business.
ME: What's the one job-hunting secret you wish all students knew?
Rossbach: You have to network as much as you can and need to get out of your comfort zone when approaching and meeting people. The broader and deeper your network the more likely you will have an inside contact at a company to help land you that job.
ME: Why did you choose to attend UB?
Rossbach: I wanted to attend UB as it was a highly regarded and accredited business school in the Baltimore area. My personal interaction with older alumni of the institution allowed me to see the value of a UB education.
ME: How has attending UB helped you in your career?
Rossbach: UB has helped me get the proper education and recognition to get into the top accounting firms and financial service institutions.
ME: Can you describe your experience as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, and the value of honor societies like this?
Rossbach: My experience as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma has been positive, as they instill core values such as hard work and commitment in their members. These honor societies are essential to ensure college students have the proper drive and work ethic to become future leaders in business and the community.
ME: What personal goal have you set for yourself this year?
Rossbach: My personal goal is to help as many new small businesses that I can to get started. These businesses are the key in the local community and economy.
ME: What does your future look like?
Rossbach: The future looks bright as the financial services industry needs dedicated financial professionals who can help clients navigate through difficult financial decisions, including making sure they are not over-extended in debt.