Working with numbers has always come easy to Grant Smith.
A native of Wynne in east Arkansas, Smith graduated from the University of Arkansas in May 2015 with a finance degree. Recalling the origin of his career path, Smith said a mentor first suggested a career as a financial planner. That same person introduced Smith to Lance Belline, who founded Lighthouse Financial 14 years ago in Rogers.
“The more we got to know each other we connected on a lot of core values,” Smith recalled. “Eventually, [Belline] said, ‘I want you to come work for us.’”
Two days after graduation, Smith did just that, and his career has remained on an upward trajectory. Lighthouse is an independently owned boutique firm that offers products and services through AXA Advisors. In 2016, Smith was the top-producing first-year adviser out of more than 5,000 new AXA advisers throughout the U.S.
For the past three years, he’s been the top-producing DSF (developing sales force) adviser in AXA’s Central Region. All advisers are considered DSF their first four years.
Smith, who’s one of four co-owners at Lighthouse, said his book of business that he works with either jointly or individually includes roughly 200 clients. A majority of them work for the region’s Fortune One employer. Smith helps them plan for and achieve their financial goals, be that retirement, education or debt-reduction objectives.
He attributes the successful start to his career to the firm’s “team” approach and calls Belline an invaluable career guide.
“The environment I’m in and the mentors I’ve made have made it nearly impossible to fail,” he said. “I have been blessed to find a career that I love what I do.”
Anyone can say they are a financial adviser, but not every adviser can say they are a certified financial planner. That’s why Smith’s next professional goal is passing the examination that will give him the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. He is in the second year of the three-year program. It is not a requirement, but it does add to the pedigree of a financial professional.
Smith is a volunteer coach at the Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club in Fayetteville and also leads a small group class for college students at Fellowship Bible Church in Fayetteville.