Matthew Suarez is always one step ahead of the game – whether it’s planning for his own career or helping a client manage finances.
As an investment officer and portfolio manager for Central Trust Co., Suarez says he takes his role as financial confidant very seriously, putting clients’ well-being at the forefront of his work.
“I help my clients by choosing, every day, to make sure I put their needs first in every decision I make,” he says. “Them being able to sleep at night is my top priority.”
Oftentimes he’s helping clients choose where to invest their dollars and meet uniquely specific financial needs and goals, while also establishing boundaries for responsible investment and financial dealings.
“Step one is always determining what they want this money to do for them,” Suarez says. “My job/goal is to invest their hard-earned money in a way that will help them achieve their financial goals while at the same time, making sure they are not taking more risk than what they are comfortable with.”
Suarez managed about 200 accounts in 2017, with a sum of $55 million – increased from $43 million in 2016.
Making these critical financial decisions for clients entails getting to know them as individuals, Suarez says.
“Undoubtedly, most important is my time spent getting to know them,” he says. “Anyone can pick an investment at random and hope they do well. I instead try to do my best at getting to know my clients on a personal level – get to know their history, their families, their hopes and goals.”
There’s a lot of weight on Suarez’s shoulders when he looks into the crystal ball of a client’s financial future. To be rooted in a sound educational foundation, he’s currently studying to earn a certified financial planner designation.
After all the hard work, Suarez says one of the best parts of his job is seeing clients’ finances flourishing.
“If their accounts are making money or are more protected during increased market volatility,” he says, “then the impact and response from my clients is fairly immediate.”
Outside of the office, Suarez finds the time to enjoy his hobbies: He’s a master scuba diver and rides a motorcycle. He also makes time to give back to the community in his multiple roles as vice chairman of the Tree City USA Citizen Advisory Committee in Springfield; member of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s The Network; member of the associate board of The Springfield Little Theatre; and member of the Rotaract Club of Springfield. Suarez was named the Rotaract Club’s member of the year for 2015-16.
“He is always willing and able to help wherever he may best be of service,” says Derek Richardson, a past president of Rotaract Club. “Matthew is a shining example of what an emergent leader should be. He is not self-serving and takes a vested interest in contributing to the success of others. He is committed to serving for the betterment of our community and his clients.”
SBJ survey data is used to analyze the flow of money.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.
Caleb Scott, coach and co-owner of Queen City Insane Asylum football team, says he had to sacrifice early on to make sure his team had places to play. With the business climate at the time, it wasn't easy.
Aaron York talks about the culture he fosters at Donco3 as the general superintendent. York says the key is to treat your business like family.