To leave a legacy is to leave part of yourself, and when an entrepreneur takes an idea and crafts it into an enterprise which ultimately becomes a lasting institution, that is something truly special.
Fred Ruiz has created such a legacy at Oak Partners, Inc., and on April 15th at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Cedar Lake the company he created, with families in tow, assembled to celebrate his unique and successful career in financial planning and wealth management.
Ruiz grew up in Northwest Indiana. A native of St. John, he got his start in the financial industry in 1972. He attended the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, PA, a nonprofit private educational institution that offers various degrees and certifications to those pursuing careers in the financial field, where he attained the Chartered Financial Consultant designation.
“I’ve always been interested in this field,” Ruiz said of the financial industry. “It’s about money and the accumulation of financial assets and I wanted to learn and become established in the industry and grow through the career path that they offered.”
He went to work in the Prudential agency system before entering an independent partnership with other local wealth management professionals. As he observed the various business models present in the financial services industry he envisioned something different, he envisioned something better.
“I thought that what I really would like to do is work in a business where people who were willing to work as hard as I was, people who were motivated, and people who had the ability to succeed… The ones who work until eight or nine o’clock at night, the ones who work on Saturday, the ones who won’t stop until the job gets done,” Ruiz said.
This vision came to fruition in 1993 when he founded Oak Tree Financial Services, Inc., which eventually grew to become Oak Partners Inc. The tiny early operation was built on some big ideas of independent thinking, putting clients first, and providing truly holistic financial advice. With these guiding principles and originally only one administrative staff person, one associated financial advisor as well as his son, Marc, the firm set out on a fast pace to growth.
“It was very exciting but stressful,” Ruiz says. “Progress kept us going. We always saw the light at the end of the tunnel and we continued to work toward it.”
That progress soon brought Ruiz’s younger son Mario into the practice and eventually led to six wealth management teams involving 16 advisors and over a dozen supporting personnel serving nearly 4,000 clients living throughout the US.
“It’s gratifying, my job has always involved helping my clients go from little or nothing, accumulating money gradually and steadily, until they had assets and enough wealth to have a good retirement, and now it’s my turn,” Ruiz said.
“When I talk to my clients about retirement I tell them there are two important things to always do: keep in physical and mental shape. Read, social activities, volunteer… These are my main goals when I retire as well.”
Ruiz said that his retirement feels like a graduation to him. It’s moving to the next stage of his life and he is looking forward to it. He’s ready to travel with his wife, spend time with his family, and conquer whatever the future has in store for him.
Securities and Advisory Services offered through SII Investments Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC a Registered Investment Advisor. Oak Partners, Inc. and SII Investments are separate and unrelated Companies.