Updated March 28 at 4:32am

Five Questions With: Malcolm A. Makin

President of Professional Planning Group is Barron’s financial magazine’s top financial adviser in the state of Rhode Island.

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Five Questions With: Malcolm A. Makin


Malcolm A. Makin is the president of Professional Planning Group, a financial planning and investment advisory firm which he founded in 1976. In 1989, he joined Raymond James Financial Services to provide better services to his clients.

He is a nationally recognized author, teacher and public speaker. He has appeared on numerous television programs and is frequently quoted in a variety of nationally known publications. According to Barron’s financial magazine’s annual listing, he is the top financial adviser in the state of Rhode Island.

PBN: Did your business feel the effects of the recession?

MAKIN: Yes. Professional Planning Group is a financial planning/wealth management firm. Our revenues are directly connected to the amount of assets under management. Typically, we find ourselves working harder during difficult markets but receiving less compensation for it. It's simply the nature of our business. One offset to that is that we usually gain clients in difficult markets because folks realize the difficulty of trying to do things themselves.

PBN: What is your national economic forecast for this year?

MAKIN: It's getting better. Corporations and consumers are spending. Money is moving. Growth will probably be modest but we will see recovery, especially as the anxiety over Europe's problems continues to subside. There are still enormous economic issues to be resolved around the world centered around spending, debt and entitlements. Our country needs to do more to encourage the growth of small business.

PBN: According to Barron's financial magazine you were rated the best financial adviser in the state of Rhode Island last year. What two factors do you credit for this?

MAKIN: The first would be our clients. They know … that we know … what they are trying to accomplish. They get it. So do we. We can go back 25 years or more with some of our clients and see that their portfolios have provided a steady stream of income while continuing to grow. The vast majority of new clients come from referrals from existing clients.

The second would be my staff. I am surrounded by extraordinary and talented people who care deeply about what they do and have a wealth of experience and knowledge in doing it. I'm blessed.

PBN: The ranking also considered philanthropic work. What nonprofit work are you involved in?

MAKIN: All of our senior staff are involved in some leadership role with at least one or two nonprofit groups. It's part of the job description. I think that all of our staff contributes both time and money to several local charities throughout the year. I'm an avid golfer and recently stepped down as president of the American Seniors Golf Association. ASGA maintains a charitable trust to support the efforts of youngsters around the country. PPG is a big supporter of a dozen or more charitable groups who sponsor golf tournaments as fund raisers during the summer months. We also manage several charitable foundations and endowments at a discounted fee.

I have the privilege of serving as the current chairman of the board of the Ocean Community YMCA. Our YMCA has branches in Mystic, Conn., Arcadia, and Westerly, and a wonderful day camp facility on the shores of Watchaug Pond in Charlestown. The YMCA makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our families, and especially our kids, throughout the year. It is an unbelievable organization.

PBN: What advice can you give our readers?

MAKIN: Studies show that the vast majority of Americans will not be financially prepared to retire. We are living longer but Social Security and most pensions are providing less.

Find an experienced, qualified, objective adviser you trust and listen to what he or she says. Understand the difference between investing and speculating. Maintain a long-term point of view.


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