A Personal Testimonial from Pete Stanton, Washington Trust Bank CEO, for Wealth Management & Advisory Services

A Testimonial of expert guidance

The benefits of having expertise and wisdom guiding your financial decisions is a lesson Pete Stanton, CEO of Washington Trust Bank, learned through his family, beginning with his great grandparents.

“My great-grandfather made and lost fortunes all the time,” says Stanton. “He would make a lot of money doing something, then he would completely blow it on his next venture. So when our family sold our meat packing business to Armour and Company back in the early 1900s, my great-grandmother insisted that he give her the majority of the proceeds of the company.” Weary of watching her husband make risky financial decisions, she decided to guide him with her business savvy and expertise into a stronger financial direction. “She turned around and invested in Washington Trust Company, which turned out to be a controlling interest at the time at a very small bank. And that’s why I’m, probably, sitting here today.”

In 1902 Washington Trust began as a trust company. Fast forward 117 years, and Washington Trust is a vibrant, strong and growing bank, and its Wealth Management & Advisory Services division is part of this success.

“Trust and wealth management is part of our DNA,” says Stanton, who has been with the bank for 36 years. “A lot of banks try to form a wealth management department well into their lifecycle; it’s sort of a flavor-of-the-day, or a bolt-on business they think they can earn a little revenue in, but for us, it is part of who Washington Trust is.”

Stanton doesn’t just talk theoretically about the importance of bringing on expert advisors to help with financial goals; he lives it out, working with Washington Trust’s Wealth Management & Advisory Services team to manage his own financial portfolio. He does this because Stanton knows it is wise to work with the experts.

“It is important because not everybody can be an expert at wealth management, even those of us who have been trained in finance and accounting and have done those things our whole lives,” he says. “It is different when you are dealing with your own assets. I think you tend to be emotional about them, you may not make the best decisions, and to have a team of professionals that are really objective about what your goals are and how you can reach them is really important.”

Equally important is the goals-based approach which Wealth Management & Advisory Services embraces. “A goals based approach is important,” says Stanton. “It’s not just about amassing as much wealth as you can. You’ve got issues with estates, children and grandchildren, and capital preservation. You might have ethical issues in things you invest in. So our team can really take everything you are thinking about and come up with the best plan for the goals you want to accomplish. It’s not just one person’s opinion; it is taking into account what you want.”

“The team at Washington Trust is fantastic,” he says. “They take care of everything I do. They manage my assets, they make sure the dividend interests are in the right accounts, they help me think through my estate planning. For me, its objective advice in a field where I think I’ve got expertise, but it’s helpful to have independent help.”

Having an expert in everything you do is important. “The more input I can get from people that study all sectors of the market and all different ways of making and accumulating wealth, the better,” says Stanton.

For the bank’s existing commercial customers selling their businesses and transitioning into Washington Trust’s Wealth Management & Advisory Services, it’s a seamless transition. “They’ve already met people in our Wealth Management department, they already have a relationship with them, so now to be able to a really spend their time, rather than running their business, managing their wealth and having a team of folks to help them is key.”

Peace of mind is a feeling you get when you have trusted advisors helping you work through life’s dilemmas and your financial decisions. It’s feeling like you’re not alone, that you’ve got people that you trust, that you are confident in. Working with a trusted financial team of advisors is key to being able to sleep at night.

Turns out Grandma does know best.