A desire to help people was one of the reasons Greg Pillow, CFP®, became a financial advisor and, ultimately, a Certified Financial Planner™. He began his career 15 years ago with Edward Jones Investments and later worked for Merrill Lynch. In 2010, Pillow and a colleague formed an independent practice.

"After Merrill Lynch merged with Bank of America, we saw that as a good opportunity to open our own business," Pillow said. "I recognized that becoming an independent financial advisor was the best way to serve my clients."

In what Pillow describes as a "natural evolution," he embarked on his own and opened Conway Wealth Management on July 1, 2013. The business is located at 707 Parkway St., Suite 104, in downtown Conway. Since opening, Pillow has helped existing clients and several new families pursue their financial goals.

Conway Wealth Management offers a number of products and services for individuals and businesses, including comprehensive financial planning, retirement planning, investment management, estate planning, business succession planning and business retirement planning. The firm also assists clients with the purchase and evaluation of life insurance, long-term-care insurance and disability insurance.

"A common misconception for our industry is that financial planners trade stocks all day. Yes, we can buy stocks and bonds for people, but that’s not the only thing we do," Pillow said. "What we do is try to help our clients improve their financial situations."

Client needs range from making a budget and balancing accounts to deciding how to pursue major purchasing and investment decisions. "Our primary focus is helping people with investments. I specialize in retirement planning for individuals and small business owners," Pillow said. "Much of our work, however, is an education process. We spend a lot of time helping people decide whether or not they should refinance their mortgage or if they should buy or lease a vehicle."

Conway Wealth Management’s clients have access to Web-based financial planning software that allows them to get a holistic view of their assets. Pillow said the tool enables his clients to aggregate their accounts and manage their finances at their fingertips.

"If they choose to, clients are able to use this technology to see their retirement and other investments at work. They can also set it up so that they can view and organize information about their mortgage, car loans, bank accounts and insurance. Not all financial advisors use this tool."

Pillow said that as an independent wealth management company, Conway Wealth Management has the flexibility to offer clients the solutions that best meet their needs. "We determine — at a local level — what’s right for each family’s situation," he said. "Unlike some of the major firms, we do not have proprietary products we are encouraged to sell."

One important thing Conway Wealth Management does have in common with major brokerage firms is investor protection. ProEquities, Inc., a broker-dealer contracted with Conway Wealth Management, gives the firm access to mutual funds, annuities and direct investments. It also helps Conway Wealth Management meet regulatory obligations as well as providing fraud protection through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, aka SIPC.

Pillow, office administrator Rita Stapleton and receptionist Jessie Hogan make up the staff at Conway Wealth Management. "I’ve worked with Rita since 2010. She plays a vital role in running the office and her banking background comes in handy in making sure everything gets processed," Pillow said. "She also does an excellent job working with clients."

A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Pillow said Conway is a great place to do business. "Conway is a progressive town that’s full of good people. The entities representing Conway have worked together well to create a business-friendly environment."

Disclaimer: Advisory Services offered through Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, and member FINRA and SIPC. Conway Wealth Management is Independent of ProEquities, Inc.