Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
May 2, 2016
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Eric Johnson (Eric took pics but getting them to Sandy proved difficult.  These pics are from the Active Member website.)
Program Coordinator: Brad Stark
          Cheers!:  No luncheon meeting May 9.  The club’s social gathering starts at 5 p.m. that day at the new Barrister’s Winery Downtown Tasting Room, 203 N. Washington (in the  historic Liberty Building, which also houses Auntie’s Bookstore).  Coordinator Bruce Ellwein said the club will subsidize some of the costs for members, spouses and guests, keeping the per-patron costs low.  The new tasting room opened last November, augmenting Barrister’s headquarters on Railroad Ave.
Crunch time: “We are down to the wire” on the club’s fund-drive effort, Coordinator Jodi Harland told the club.  It’s hoped all corporate sponsors and the names of members’ guests will be available by the May 16 club meeting, she said.  Jodi adds that the June 2 gathering at The Backyard, 1811 W. Broadway, is “a full participation event.”  All members will be asked to help with the evening’s tasks, still saving time to socialize with the guests they bring, she said.  Names of guests should be submitted to Nancy Hanson or Jon Heideman.
          NC time: North Central High School Principal Steve Fisk is the May 16 luncheon speaker.
          Goodbye, for now: President Lenore Romney said former club board member Mark Visintainer, citing new job duties requiring extensive travel, is resigning from the club “for now,” but not before providing a $500 corporate donation and a prize for the fund-raising event.
          Congrats, again: For about the fourth time in the last few months, new member Joel San Nicolas won the club’s weekly drawing, prompting fellow member Bill Simer to ask Joel if he needs “a 1099 form” to report all his winnings to the IRS.
Helping making sense of the dollars
          Continuing the series of occasional luncheon programs which feature club members, Bruce Ellwein and Keli Brereton shared insights about their positions in the finance and wealth management industry.
          Bruce, a past club president and current board member, is a financial advisor for First Command, a Fort Worth, Texas-based financial services company.
          Keli is a vice president, senior wealth strategist and relationship manager with Spokane-based Washington Trust Bank.
          Bruce said he had been a First Command client many years while serving in the Air Force and his financial representative asked what he planned to do when his military service ended.  “I liked math, liked numbers, like finance and liked people,” Bruce said, so he joined the firm some 12 years ago.
          “I like solving puzzles, whether it’s kids issues at school, vacation plans, retirements… just helping people get from Point A to Point B,” Bruce said.  The financial puzzle-solving is more difficult now that the set of “arcane rules” has been made more difficult by the “DOL ruling that requires financial advisers to act as fiduciaries,” he said.
           Ellwein agrees that personal financial protections are important because “dirt bags will be dirt bags,” whatever the rules.  He also said it is important “to act in the clients’ best interests,” but the resultant pile of new paperwork can be daunting.
            Keli said she was “a computer science major who worked in a brokerage office” when a mentor asked if she was interested in working in finance.
            Her circuitous route involved stops in Seattle, New York – where she “literally worked with rocket scientists” on their financial issues, San Diego and back to Spokane.
            She recalls “getting yelled at” when she did quantitative research on exchange trading floors.  “I was the numbers geek and I didn’t want to lose someone’s money,” Keli said.
            Brereton has been with Washington Trust four years and likes the safety net system of trust advisors and trust committees to help families make financial decisions.  The long-time Spokane bank services many multi-generational family situations, Keli said.
            Ellwein said it is important for families to appoint a trust officer.  He cited the case of an 84-year-old Alzheimer’s patient whose wife was suffering from dementia.  “It’s a Herculian task to get him to make good decisions,” Bruce said, adding, “it’s not always best to name a family member as the trustee.”