Brothers Freddie and Patrick Cassilly knew growing up that they would eventually want to work for small businesses in their hometown community of Anne Arundel County. The reality has been even better than they could have hoped.
A registered investment advisor (RIA), Freddie started Cassilly Financial Group two years ago to help clients achieve financial well-being through holistic and unbiased advice. His independent firm on B&A Boulevard shares a building with Gardiner & Appel Group, where Patrick offers a variety of small-business consulting and tax planning and preparation services as a certified public accountant.
By aligning together, the two businesses are able to offer a combination of tax and financial planning services anytime someone needs those resources.
“Working in the community has always been appealing to me; we come from a family of small-business owners,” Freddie said. “The fact that we get to grow our respective businesses side by side is exciting for both of us.”
When opening his business, Freddie utilized his experience working for a national firm in Annapolis. When Patrick joined Gardiner & Appel Group in 2012, he brought a background from the five years he spent working for one of the Big Four accounting firms. In joining the Gardiner & Appel Group, they have gained invaluable experience in working with the partners at the Gardiner & Appel Group (Karl Appel, Debbie Feather and Tom Cleaver).
“Without the support of a large corporation, having the support and mentorship of those partners with so much experience working in this community has been huge,” Patrick said.
Freddie’s day-to-day schedule consists of meeting clients and customizing financial plans that meet their unique goals and objectives.
“Being an independent financial planning firm allows me to act as a true fiduciary for our clients,” Freddie said. “That was one of the biggest appeals for me in starting my own practice – being in control of recommendations that are made to clients and the solutions we come up with, knowing it is always in their best interest.”
Most of those clients come from referrals. Freddie’s process starts with a “discovery meeting,” which is a friendly introduction and discussion of goals. Before coming to us, most clients have done some type of planning along the way. They have accumulated money in a 401(k), completed a will, or saved money for their children’s education, he said, but people come to take those pieces a step further. They are looking for a comprehensive and cohesive plan.
“None of our financial plans are cookie cutter,” Freddie explained. “All of our plans are tailored and customized to our clients’ individual needs. Recommendations always include a healthy level of dialogue and discussion. It is this process that helps us meet our clients’ needs on a deeper level.”
After implementing a plan, reviews are held at least once a year to make sure the strategies are still appropriate for clients’ ever-changing needs.
“I would say if you talk to my clients, they appreciate the process more than anything,” Freddie said. “I think that’s the most helpful thing for them to get organized around their financial planning and understand that they have a thoughtful strategy versus that feeling of being disorganized. [That life] creates a lot of anxiety. The process gets them organized and being organized reduces a lot of the anxiety when it comes to finances.”
Like Freddie, Patrick enjoys working with people from his local community whether they are business clients or individual clients.
“Individual clients usually come in for one of two reasons,” Patrick said. “One, they’ve done their taxes on TurboTax forever and they’ve finally outgrown that. Two, they have been working with another accountant and they don’t feel like they’ve been getting the attention they need and they don’t have a good relationship with their clients … In working with these clients, tax considerations are often tied to their financial planning, so the relationship with the Cassilly Financial Group can be beneficial to the client.”
The Gardiner & Appel Group stakes a big part of its reputation on its long tradition of working with local businesses.
“For business owners, tax planning is a big piece of what we do … what they do with retirement saving can be a big part of their tax planning,” Patrick said. “Furthermore, when business owners ultimately sell their businesses, having someone that they trust to manage those proceeds is important for them.”
People may assume that Gardiner & Appel is too busy to take on new clients in tax season, but Patrick said the team is never too busy to take on new clients.
“We are busy, but we never hesitate to set up a meeting with a potential client,” he said. “Bringing on a new client in tax season can be a good thing because we learn a lot about the client through the tax preparation process that otherwise takes longer to do.”
The Cassilly brothers both have four children — Patrick has a fifth on the way — and they coach soccer for Green Hornets. This year, they plan to coach T-ball and lacrosse as well.
“I think 5-year-old soccer is a ton of fun,” Patrick said. “The kids have fun. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors and to meet people with similar-age kids.”
They also get to meet people through their other volunteer endeavors. Freddie is on the finance committee at Chartwell Golf and Country Club. Patrick serves on the St. John the Evangelist Finance Council, and as a member of the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center’s Next Generation Group.
Both Freddie and Patrick feel gratitude to be able to work for local businesses in Severna Park and to fulfill their lifelong dream.
“It’s rewarding because when you do a good job, you really feel and see the effects of what you do working in the community that you live in,” Patrick said.