William L Gordon, Senior Advisor, Palumbo Wealth Management

The Island Now

After 20 years in largest financial services firms, I found my true passion in entrepreneurship, founding a successful hedge fund, growing it from $750,000 to $1.2 billion in seven years.

That experience has led me to consult to or purchase businesses where I see an opportunity to disrupt and challenge the “status quo.”

My 40 years of diverse business experience has helped train me to invest in “disruption”, whether through technology, price, or service changes. The chemical engineering foundation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute combined with Harvard Business School provided me with a solid foundation for analyzing opportunities and best capitalize on them.

Looking back, the most exciting periods in my career was being involved in, and driving, industry disruption through better solutions to the status quo. Taking a view from the buyer’s shoes lays out the vision, and the engineering mindset sets out the path. The result of disruption is better customer results along with the opportunity for financial gain for the disruptor.

Today, I am focusing on the financial services and boating industries. While different industries, both are ripe for disruption, and both are experiencing these disruptive forces as we speak.

At Palumbo Wealth Management, the disruptive force we are delivering is providing an integrated, cost-effective comprehensive investment and planning solution to deliver peace of mind to investors.

I would estimate less than 10% of individual investors having engaged in a true comprehensive financial plan. There is a tremendous opportunity for integrated wealth management to the one hundred million or more individual “portfolio managers.” Having advised major corporations and institutions, the individual investor deserves no less.

Similarly, the consumer boating business is going through a disruption. For years, the only practical way to have a boating experience was owning. That is going to change drastically.

My advice to Long Island Boat Rentals is to rapidly expand the rental, boat club and captain-chartered boat & yacht experiences to the over 80% of the population, who are inexperienced boaters, yet who would love to share in hassle-free, cost-effective boating.

How do you see your business evolving due to the changing times?

I see a major disruptive opportunity in the delivery of integrated wealth management/financial planning services. Would you build a house without a licensed architect and contractor? No, the government will not let you. So why retire without a financial plan from a wealth manager?

After a decade of stable financial markets, I expect a challenging next 10 years. Integrated wealth management/financial planning will be critical.

Most “financial advisors” today do not insist on a comprehensive financial plan. This is wrong! Most individuals go forever without knowing the difference. A plan early in life would show investors the peace of mind you get from a comprehensive financial plan.

It is why I am confident those firms insisting on an integrated wealth advisor/financial planning capability will achieve the highest client satisfaction. Palumbo is building the ideal “platform,” integrating institutional investing knowledge with comprehensive, personalized financial planning. Phil Palumbo, the founder, shares that same vision and passion.

My advice in boating: Continue to disrupt: Expand the rental, boat club and captained-charter experiences to all who love the water. Allow all the inexperienced boaters embrace the water experience.

What advice would you give other business owners?

Think like a disrupter! Think like an “underdog” against the big websites, companies, and your competitors. Think how you can “change the game.” Do not be satisfied with the status quo! Look at your service or product, analyze your customers and their needs, and continuously think about how you could improve your value proposition.

Technology will play a critical role, but it is not everything. Embrace change for the customer’s benefit, do not fight it.


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