Securities America Women Advisors Connect
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Finding Success with Satisfaction

Minoti Rajput, CFP®, began working in financial services in 1974 in India before moving to the United States in 1980. While she was fairly successful during her first decade doing business, it wasn’t until 1990 that she found what she needed to propel her business to be the success it is today and feel truly satisfied in her work.

Rajput began building her business making cold calls and going through the yellow pages, constantly having to explain her accent and being denied. Eventually, she would make it beyond the phone call to meet prospects in person. Once face-to-face, Rajput would excel in building relationships with prospects by listening to their concerns thoroughly before ever offering any solutions.

“You really have to know your business very well and have good communications skills,” Rajput said. “I think I am a good speaker because I am a good listener. I have been told I am able to educate people well, so that is something I always aim to do. It is not about me and making a sale. It is about having compassion to help everyone. It’s thinking of what I can do to resolve their issues.”

In 1989, Rajput met three different families who had family members with a disability or a special needs child. She began searching for ways to help these families plan for the future, but she had no point of reference or resource to assist them. Rajput also found herself thinking of her own niece, who is autistic.

“It has always been in the back of my mind that there are families that have to worry about what will happen to their children once they aren’t there, but back then there was very little information dealing with such things,” Rajput said.

In her practice today, Rajput prefers to work with clients with more than $1 million in investable assets. Her Southfield, Mich., firm, Secure Planning Strategies, has grown to include three other financial advisors and has more than $200 million in assets under management. While working with her affluent clients, she also focuses on the firm’s subspecialty and waives the minimums for clients with special needs children. When she started working with this unique group of clients, she discovered that few financial professionals knew anything about special needs advising. Finding one professional who did, Rajput mentored with her under a special business arrangement and soon became the first financial professional in Michigan to do comprehensive special needs advising.

“When I first started this, I realized it wasn’t a matter of just business anymore but about providing valuable information to special needs families,” Rajput said. “I had to identify the people who I needed to speak to and find ways to educate the families. I had to learn a lot about the different types of disabilities and the legal planning required as well as all about the government benefits available to the special needs persons. There is much more to this work than simply drafting a special needs trust.”

Rajput said there were also many other questions to consider when addressing a family with a special needs child. What about the other siblings?  How should they be provided for?  Who will provide the actual care for the special needs child?  How will the parents manage their own eldercare while simultaneously caring for a special needs child? 

Families with special needs members come in all financial strata. Rajput realized early on that simply waiving her minimums wasn’t enough to truly serve the broader special needs community. Always a firm believer in giving back to the community, she serves as a vice president of the board of FAR Conservatory and is a former board member of New Horizons Rehabilitation Services, both organizations dedicated to serving the special needs population. In 2005, she was named to the Michigan Governor’s Honor Roll for outstanding community service for her contributions. Rajput has donated funds to a variety of organizations over the years, and she regularly delivers seminars for the special needs communities, providing education and guidance for families who are struggling to figure out how to best serve their children. 

“Working with special needs families gave me a lot of recognition, both locally and nationally,” Rajput said. “I began to grow steadily, gaining a lot of clients. But there is a lot more to special needs planning than managing the assets of the family and the special needs member. Where the special needs child will live after the parents pass away, who will be the advocate and who will provide ongoing services are all part of the planning process. It’s a completely different type of planning where I find myself being a bit of a counselor, social worker, psychologist and mother, as I am one myself, all while remaining objective to their financial situation. I find this immensely satisfying.”

She soon realized she had found the “something out of the ordinary” she had been missing in her professional life; something that would help her finally reach an inner satisfaction. To date, her firm has counseled more than 800 families with special needs children nationwide.  

Rajput moved her business to Securities America in 2009 after an extensive search for a broker-dealer with the tools and support available to help her continue to grow her business.

“My previous broker-dealer was wonderful, but I had reached a point with them where I could not progress anymore,” Rajput said. “Securities America is the perfect size and offers the same Midwest culture and hospitality I am used to in Michigan, with warm, friendly and helpful people. With Securities America I can ask for assistance with things and I know they will give it to me. They are always willing to help me grow and expand my business. The technology available is efficient, and the insight I have gained from networking opportunities with other financial professionals at conferences and study groups with top producers has really added to my business.”  

Rajput has come a long way since she first began building her business in the U.S., making cold calls and always having to explain her accent. And while her journey to success wasn’t always easy, the satisfaction she now feels daily made overcoming every struggle worth it in the end.

“Nothing is easy in life and the current market environment is very challenging,” Rajput said. “But quitting is never an option. I feel we will always prevail, and we will always be here because of our desire to be here – both as asset managers and counselors – for our clients. When we take on a person as a client, at least in my office, we don’t stop when we get their assets. We feel we’re in their lives, and we have a moral and ethical responsibility for their welfare; financial or otherwise.”