READ: Road to Exchange: Marguerita Cheng

As February 11 continues to inch closer, and closer advisors and financial service providers may be wondering what type of individuals in the industry will be attending the highly anticipated Exchange Conference. To help provide some more insight into this, VettaFi’s CMO, Jon Fee, recently sat down with Marguerita Cheng, the CEO, and Founder of Blue Ocean Global Wealth to discuss why she is on the “Road to Exchange.”

Road to Exchange: Marguerita Cheng

Jon Fee: Marguerita Cheng, thank you for joining me on the road to Exchange. You’re not only the founder and CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, you’re an incredibly accomplished parent. I could talk to you about parenting tips all day long. I love how you think about it. But today we’re talking about you, your business, and what we’ve got in store for folks down at Exchange. The conference is taking place February 11th through 14th in Miami Beach. Margarita, how are you doing today?

Marguerita Cheng: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. And it’s so exciting to see everything come together as a member of the Exchange Advisory Council.

Jon Fee: Absolutely. I always think about 2,000 people across the wealth management space, predominantly advisors, coming from every state in the United States are about to migrate down to Miami Beach. And I just think like, wow, everyone’s getting their bags together. They’re figuring out their networking plans. So it’s pretty wide. I love it. We’re incredibly grateful for you to be a part of the council as well as me and other colleagues across that this is a conference for advisors by advisors.

And with that said, tell me about your business. Tell me about why you started Blue Ocean and the problems that you’re solving in the marketplace today.

Marguerita Cheng: So Blue Ocean Global Wealth is a financial planning and investment advisory firm based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. That’s north of our nation’s capital. And notice I said financial planning and investment advisory. Financial planning is the foundation of everything we do. I was very intentional about separating financial advice from investment advice because at my core, I believe everybody deserves access to competent ethical advice.

And that should not matter. No matter the size of your portfolio, meaning everyone is worthy and deserving.

Jon Fee: Yeah, absolutely. So what it sounds like when you decided to start the business, you had some philosophies, your holding corps. But what were you doing before that? What kind of led you to starting the company?

Marguerita Cheng: Well, sure. I worked at a large firm for 14 years, and I started to see that there were people that really did want financial advice, and that maybe they still wanted to manage their portfolios. And I also know the importance of making financial planning accessible to all different clients and I mean all different clients. I don’t just mean socioeconomic, I mean different generations.

Jon Fee: Yeah. How do you think about tailoring some of the financial planning content that you have for different generations? I mean, I know you and I have talked about in the past, that there’s a massive generation of boomers that need a certain type of advice, and there’s a smaller generation, which you and I are in, which is Gen Xers.

And then there’s this other big massive generation called Millennials, and there are three distinctively different segments with segments within them. How do you think about tailoring your content to each of those segments?

Marguerita Cheng: So this is what I tell people. It’s true. You cannot be all things to all people, but certain things are universal. So for example, if I know you and I are very passionate about health and fitness, who doesn’t want to be stronger, healthier, fitter, faster, right? So who doesn’t want to have more clarity about the decisions they’re making, what confidence that they’re making the right decisions for themselves, and a sense of control?

So depending on where people are, their age, and their stage of life, those universal truths that still resonate with them might be the goals that differ along the way.

Jon Fee: Absolutely. I think that’s spot on. What do you think about scaling? Content like, you know, each of those segments that I talked about, those macro-segments, like how do you think about what tools to use to reach each of them and scale your practice at Blue Ocean?

Marguerita Cheng: So I think scale is very important, right? It means you can be more efficient, but it’s also important to think about personalization and customization. So it’s true that at certain stages and ages, certain topics resonate with them more, but then making it personal so I can be really concrete. There’s a hundred, okay, thousands of articles on Roth IRAs.

Jon Fee: Yeah.

Marguerita Cheng: However, I might make it personal to what I’m experiencing. How I helped my daughter, who was 15 at the time, establish a Roth IRA. So there’s two articles on Roth IRAs, but I’m making this relevant for Gen X parents helping his/her/their Gen Z child. It’s not a Roth IRA. So I took a concept that has universal interest, but then I make it very specific to that audience.

Jon Fee: I love that and I’m not just saying this. Earlier this week I spent so much time researching, just refreshing my own knowledge on traditional IRAs versus Roth IRAs. And so much of the content just as the same three bullet points each, you know, do’s and don’ts. But what I was looking for is, I just wish someone would write content, write some content from the perspective of, “Well, if you’re this age and maybe you have this kind of going on at your home life and you’ve done this in the past…” Like it just would feel so much more relatable for me.

So I love that you’re spending a lot of your time and resources tilting your content into that personalization. I couldn’t agree more. I do fundamentally believe, too, you can scale personalization as well. It’s you just kind of set the challenge and that it can be done. Okay, so in a couple of weeks, I’m going to see you back down in Miami Beach at the Exchange Conference.

You joined us last year and it was a tremendous success. I can’t wait to exceed everything we did in 2023, in February, next month. Tell me about what you like to get out of going to conferences. And I know we’re always there to like hear your thought leadership. But as someone who attends conferences, what do you like to get out of them?

Marguerita Cheng: I think it is so valuable going to conferences. Sure, it’s not just the content, but it’s the connections and the conversation. And it doesn’t just end at a conference. In fact, it begins.

Jon Fee: Yeah, I love that. I was talking to an advisor earlier and he’s like, “Jon, I go for the professional networking.” I actually really enjoy that personal networking as well. And he was like sometimes it starts on a personal topic like, you know, we’re all going to be watching the Super Bowl together. And sometimes just starts with like, “Oh, why are you rooting for that team? You told me you live in New York, but you’re a Niner fan?” And you learn about people’s backgrounds. And then you pivot into what do you do for a living and what’s your business. So then you realize, “Oh wow, we have a lot in common personally, we have a lot in common professionally. We should do something together. We should talk about growing each other’s businesses.”

I love that. Is there a particular type of content you’re always interested in hearing while at a conference?

Marguerita Cheng: So I don’t necessarily need to have CE. Continuing education is very important, but I like to hear about the market. I also like to hear about innovations in products. And I just I’m a lifelong learner and I think that’s what makes Exchange so special. There truly is something for everyone.

Jon Fee: I love that. And why? Well, it’s because of folks like you and other members of the Advisory Council helping to guide the content for the conference. And you’re right. You know, we’ve always wanted to have a platform that is supportive of lifelong learning, regardless of the topic. You know, that it’s just very inclusive of helping people understand new topics, new products, new solutions, new ways to grow their business, practice management, you name it.

Marguerita, I wish we had all day to talk. Like I said, I feel like I’m going to find you in Miami and just pick your brain on best practices for parenting. So be on the lookout for that. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our audience while you’re down in Miami, what you’re looking to do, and what you’d like to get out of the conference?

Marguerita Cheng: Well, I just think this is an amazing opportunity. I mean, my name is Marguerita, who doesn’t want to have a margarita with Marguerita in Miami? So the fun aside, it’s just a great way to invest in yourself.

Jon Fee: 100%. We’re going to end on that note because that’s a phenomenal note. And it’s the folks that helped pull off this conference. I always say that the best investment addiction is the investment in yourself and what you’ll get out of it, whether it’s learning something new or making new connections. So, Marguerita, thank you for being such an important member of this community and we’re so grateful that you’re joining us again down at the conference.

It’s taking place February 11th through the 14th in Miami Beach. You can learn more about it. Exchange ETF, join me, Marguerita, and 2,000 members, thought leaders, experts, and innovators from across wealth management, including a lot of advisors at the event. We’ll see you there. Thanks again, Marguerita.

Marguerita Cheng: Thank you.

Register for Exchange 2024 here.  

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