Frankie Corrado, CFP®
Robertson Stephens Wealth Management
Holmdel, New Jersey
For Frankie Corrado, it’s no stretch to say things have already come full circle. His current office is in the old Bell Lab campus just a mile from where he grew up in Holmdel, New Jersey. In fact, one of his earliest memories is visiting the lab as a kid. The history of this enormous, architecturally stunning building in some ways mirrors Frankie’s own trajectory. Though the campus has been reimagined over the decades, it retains its original character. As Frankie remembers back to his early years, he can see how far he’s come, but he also recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit which spurred him to shovel driveways and take on odd jobs as a kid. It’s the same drive that pushes him to take on new challenges today.
After studying finance in college, Frankie first job post-graduation was with a tax consulting and preparation firm. He cut his teeth doing complex tax planning for ultra-high net worth clients. “It was like being dropped in the deep end, but I learned a lot really quickly,” he says. After focusing solely on taxes for a few years, Frankie was ready to expand his horizons, but he wasn’t sure yet what he envisioned for the future. He decided to quit his job and move to Colorado, where he could ski, hike, and work to map out a plan. With some time and space, Frankie discovered that he wanted to work in a more entrepreneurial business. Financial planning made sense. Not only would it tap into Frankie’s background and skills, but he already had a mentor lined up—his dad.
Frankie joined his dad’s practice in 2010. He worked remotely from Colorado at first, then relocated back to New Jersey. “It was like being dropped in the deep end again,” he says. “But this time I knew how to swim.” Between his coursework in college and his tax planning experience, Frankie had an excellent foundation to build from. “It was great to put all these pieces together for people to help them navigate difficult waters,” he says about transitioning into financial planning.
Since Frankie’s dad had been an ACP member since the early 2000s, Frankie was familiar with the organization from afar, but in 2012 he attended a conference for the first time. He was taken with the difference between the ACP crowd and the crowd he met at other trade shows. “At ACP, members spoke to each other like peers. They were so respectful and engaged. There was this level of curiosity and excitement that I’d never encountered before,” he says.
Joining an ACP firm meant that Frankie learned the ACP philosophy from the inside, watching the other planners to see how things were done. After a few years, Frankie and his dad decided to venture out together, launching their own firm—Blue Blaze Financial Advisors. With the ACP community in their corner, they were able to build a healthy, profitable business. In 2019, Blue Blaze merged with Robertson Stephens, a firm interested in incorporating financial planning into their model. “For all of us, it’s like 1+1=3. We’re part of a bigger team, which means we get to work with really smart people every day and not everything falls on our shoulders,” Frankie says.
Throughout the journey, ACP has been an essential piece of the puzzle for Frankie. The organization’s commitment to members and the collegiality amongst the group has given him a community of experts to lean on. “The ability to bounce ideas off of other advisors or reach out with a technical question adds so much value,” Frankie says. Not only does ACP have the resources to rely on, it has also given Frankie the chance to push himself and sharpen his professional skills. Knowing he was nervous about public speaking, Frankie took on the role of Conference Committee chairperson. “I signed up because I was afraid of it, and for me fear usually means there’s something I need to work on,” he says. Speaking at the conference was nerve-wracking at first, but since then it’s gotten much easier. “I actually enjoy it now,” Frankie says. “I’ve really developed my communication skills, which has helped me transform my fear into joy.”
Frankie just completed a term as president of the ACP Board of Directors. In this role he had the chance to learn about the inner workings of the organization. “It’s easy to take it for granted, but there are so many people doing such good work behind the scenes,” he says. Being president allowed Frankie to connect with more advisors and hear more stories and feedback from across the membership. When asked why he dedicates so much of himself to ACP, he explains that the value is intrinsic. “You get out of it exactly what you put into it.”