SUMMIT, NJ - In uncertain financial times, people seek safety. One safe place in a roiling financial marketplace is bonds, said Richard Seelaus, founder and president of R. Seelaus & Co.
The company was founded in 1984 as a municipal bond trading company working with larger financial planning businesses. Today, the company is a full service brokerage that specializes in municipal bonds as well as mortgage backed and taxable debt. The company also offers financial and retirement planning, estate planning, planning for college needs, among a diverse menu of services.
Since its founding, the company has grown into a full service financial firm meeting the planning and investment needs of high net worth individuals and businesses, while continuing to service major institutions throughout the country, according to its website.
The company has a second office in Boston. Other top officials at R. Seelaus are managing directors Bernard Garruppo and Mike Cornell.
“In bad times, people look for a safe place to put their money,” Seelaus said. Bonds are safe. As a result, Seelaus said, his company is doing well.
The success is driven by a simple mantra, Seelaus said, “Know your client.” At the same time, his staff must know the products they are selling, he said. “We have a lot of talent at this company,” he said.
Today’s bond client, both individuals and corporations, Seelaus said, is still concerned about the market crash of 2008, a shadow that lingers in the market in the shape of high unemployment and slow housing sales. “People are nervous,” he said.
Financial disruptions on that scale usually happen decades apart, Seelaus said, and here there have two within three years.
It is the job of his company to help clients sort out the meaning of such events and help them place their money in financial products that satisfy their need for safety and a quality return on investment.
“Bonds are actually loans,” Seelaus said. A client commits funds to purchase a bond, which has been offered to fund a specific goal, for example, a municipal bond for street construction, and expects an agreed-upon rate of return.
Seelaus said that his early career was spent as a bond trader for a large New York investment firm, an experience that led to the formation of his own company headquartered in the Bouras Building at 25 DeForest Ave. in Summit. R. Seelaus & Co. has been at this address for 26 years.
On a weekday, the elegant office is sunlit and busy with traders at computers working with clients.
Seelaus does not gloat about his company’s success and expressed concerns about the county’s overall economic direction that had helped drive that success.
Instead, he has prepared his company to meet the needs of clients affected by and concerned about these turbulent financial times and offer them safety and stability in an economic sea of uncertainty.
R Seelaus & Co.: 25 DeForest Ave. www.rseelaus.com. 800-273-7730.