EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story appeared in the July 9 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.
Edward Prewitt, managing director of full-service brokerage firm Prewitt Wealth Management Group in Fayetteville, has helped clients manage their assets, plan for retirement and purchase insurance for more than 17 years.
Prewitt oversees the firm, a branch of financial services company Wells Fargo Advisors, and
its five employees, each operating independently and with their own clients. Combined, the six Wells Fargo employees provide wealth management services to 440 households.
Prewitt, 47, explained that over the years, the wealth management position has become more complex, evolving from a traditional stock broker to advising clients in all aspects of their lives. One of the more comprehensive services he provides is estate planning, in which he works with clients’ attorneys and tax advisers.
In 2006, he earned the designation of certified financial planner, and it’s allowed him to help clients see the bigger picture when developing a plan for their financial portfolio.
When he was named to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class in 2002, he was a financial consultant with Conrad Financial Group of A.G. Edwards & Sons in Fayetteville. He joined the company in May 2001, and for eight years, he worked daily with his stepfather and mentor Bill Conrad, who showed Prewitt how to take care of people.
After he became a certified financial planner, they changed the name of the business to its current name. The company was previously acquired by
Wachovia Securities before being purchased by Wells Fargo. In 2008, Prewitt became branch manager of the firm, and Conrad retired the following year. Something Prewitt said he wishes he would have been able to do was to work more with his stepfather, who retired at 80.
Prewitt said it’s been interesting to be acquired by different companies, as the name changed, but the business itself remained unchanged. After the deals closed, the firm continued to work with the same clients as before.
Prior to working with his stepfather, Prewitt spent seven years in former President Bill Clinton’s administration and was deputy assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Fayetteville native said he visited 55 countries before he turned 30 years old, and since then, he’s visited a few more. Prewitt said the experience of working in the Clinton administration gave him perspective on what’s really important as he traveled to some of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. It allowed him to understand how fortunate people are who live in the United States.
In contrast to his work as a financial adviser, Prewitt started in the industry as an intern for New York specialist firm Fernandez Bartch & Mirra before leaving for Washington, D.C., in November 1994.
“I was literally trading stocks on a desk,” Prewitt said, adding the position gave him the opportunity to experience New York City and to see the other side of the industry.
But he said working as a financial adviser to help people succeed financially and go through life knowing they have enough is more gratifying and fulfilling. Also, becoming a financial adviser gave him the opportunity to return home to Fayetteville. “It’s a great place to come back to,” he said.
The highlight of his career is when someone can retire or works because they want to, not because they must. He recalled a client whose son recently graduated from college without debt because they’d worked on a plan to pay for the son’s education. Prewitt also has helped people pay for weddings or buy a home.
“The highlights for me are when a plan works and people are not having to worry about their financials,” he said.
Prewitt was recently named to the Forbes and Barron’s lists of top advisers. As a goal over the next five years, he hopes to continue to mentor his employees, take care of clients and provide them great service, he said.
Over the past four years, Prewitt has served as board chairman for The New School in Fayetteville. He and his wife, Jennifer, have a 10-year-old son, and Prewitt spends his free time traveling with friends and family and runs