Making Dreams Happen
AXA Advisors goes beyond rainy day funds
By Alison Bailin Batz
The team at the North Valley’s AXA Advisors Southwest works under one simple principle: we make dreams happen.
“As a financial planning firm, that seems a pretty obvious mission statement,” says executive vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest Dillan Micus, who took the role in 2005 at 29. At the time, it made him the youngest executive vice president in the region and among the youngest for the brand worldwide.
But, according to Micus, their rallying cry means more to their dedicated local team of 100-plus than helping folks save for rainy days and retirement—although they certainly do that.
“Our team isn’t interested in pumping out quotas for internal products or steering clients to one or two investment tools that makes the firm the most profit,” Micus says. “We listen. We want to hear what people actually want from their lives both now and in the future, and what kind of legacy they want to leave for other generations.”
Then, according to Micus, AXA team members collectively work to help make all those hopes and dreams come true through its innovative “The Firm of Firms” approach.
“The Firm of Firm model allows AXA to partner with specialty firms that focus in one particular area of wealth management—be it retirement benefits, business success planning, wealth management, asset management and the list goes on,” Micus says. “This allows us to deliver the most up to date strategies to people as well as approach someone’s goals as a team.”
This has been an ingredient of the secret sauce for the firm and helped them to earn the coveted AXA’s President’s Trophy Award six times. The award is given annually to select branches nationwide based on the firm’s rank and management performance.
“But that isn’t the only way we put our people-centered vision into action,” says Micus, a past executive council member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and active Thunderbird. “We also mean to help people in need so that they can have a better tomorrow.”
They do this in several ways.
“First, we have our AXA Achievements Community Scholarship Program, which helps make college possible for young adults in need,” Micus says.
The program is the largest provider of college scholarships in the United States granting more than $28 million in scholarships to over 6,500 students.
“Then, we have AXA Hearts in Action, wherein our employees offer a helping hand, on their own time or during work hours, to organizations.”
Recently Micus and his team have taken this ideal to the next level, creating their own large-scale charity event to benefit various nonprofits in the community, including the Boys & Girls Clubs, Elevate Phoenix and Folds of Honor, to name a few. They have donated over $700,000 with the goal to reach $1 million in the next few years.
“When not planning the event, our team sits on boards of directors with the local Rotary, Thunderbirds, Boys & Girls Clubs, Arizona Military Assistance Mission, Friends of the Phoenix Library and more,” Micus says.
AXA has an online program that enables its portfolio managers to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into its decision-making processes.
“We also provide a matching gifts program through our AXA Foundation, giving our people the ability to direct contributions to the issues and commitments they feel are important,” Micus says. “In 2018, the AXA Foundation matched over $1 million in contributions to 1,000-plus charitable organizations nationwide. “
The Southwest branch members also takes part in AXA’s day of service, an annual event when its staff is able to volunteer as one unit for a cause they care about in the neighborhood.
The combined work of the entire team has led AXA to be honored by the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Service with its annual small business impact award. They’ve also taken home Most Admired Company Awards from BestCompaniesAZ with its Most Admired Companies for its combination of excellence in customer opinion, leadership, social responsibility and workplace culture.
“We win. We bring the fun. We care about others success. We have an entrepreneurial vision. We cross the finish line and help others do the same. That is what we are all about,” Micus says.
For more, visit axaadvisorssouthwest.com.
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