Scott Everhart

President and CEO, Everhart Financial

His field is financial planning, but Scott Everhart, is, in many ways, an educator. “The more informed people are, the better decisions they make,” says Everhart, president and CEO of Everhart Financial, founded in 1995.

“We do a lot of educating of our client base, both individual and corporately. That’s maybe a major differentiator of ours. We have a full team that goes out and does personal one-on-ones with people who are in these retirement plans,” he says. Everhart Financial also offers group education for its corporate clients and has started a quarterly education series for plan participants.

A Delaware native, Everhart graduated with bachelor’s degrees in finance and business management from Kent State University. “Back in 1991, when I got my start, there was this fledgling industry called financial planning, and I was able to get in on the fairly early stages of that, and then my career has developed,” he says.

In the last five years, Everhart has embraced 401(k) work. “That is really the most powerful way to help the most number of people gain financial security, through these corporate retirement plans. … It ends up being financial planning in a ‘mass’ way,” he says.

Now, about 80 percent of Everhart’s business lies in representing corporate retirement plans for businesses with 20 to 1,200 employees. The remainder is individual accounts that come via referral or from the executives of businesses Everhart represents in its 401(k) work.

The financial planning industry has long been characterized by the word “obfuscation,” says Jeff Wilkins, the CompuServe co-founder whom Everhart describes as a “one-man board of directors” for the firm. “It’s not very obvious to participants where their money goes, necessarily, and Scott had this idea that the best way to do the job for clients was to make the process totally transparent and then to find the best possible suppliers for their clients. I really liked that idea,” Wilkins says.

Everhart, 45, a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Investment Fiduciary, is a member of the Farmers Citizens Bank board of directors as well as a member of the Financial Planning Association, Financial Executives International and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

The fee-based Everhart Financial offers 105 retirement plans and manages $500 million in assets on behalf of 8,000 participants, a number Everhart expects to double in the next five years. “In doing so, we think we’re going to be doubling the amount of people who are much more prepared for a secure financial future and a secure retirement,” he says.

Wilkins praises Everhart’s foresight. “He’s paid a lot of attention to what’s happening in the marketplace, how quickly it’s likely to grow, and making sure that the Everhart team has got the bandwidth necessary to maintain the same high levels of customer service that they always did. ... That’s pretty unusual for a small business.”

Reprinted from the April 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.