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Financial firm plants seeds of growth

By Traci DeLore


The sign in front of S.E.E.D. Planning Group’s new office at 3247 Vickery Road in the town of Salina. The fee-based financial planning firm, which is headquartered in Binghamton, opened the Salina location to accommodate the firm’s growing Syracuse–area client base. (PHOTO CREDIT: S.E.E.D. PLANNING GROUP, LLC)

BINGHAMTON — A new subsidiary, a merger, a new financial offering, and double-digit growth have combined and led S.E.E.D. Planning Group, LLC to the opening of two new office locations this year.

The fee-based financial planning firm, which is headquartered in Binghamton, opened an office at 3247 Vickery Road in the town of Salina, in late August to accommodate the firm’s growing Syracuse–area client base, says Travis Maus, managing partner and wealth manager.

He credits the need for the office to the company’s Suite(K) business unit, which provides fiduciary services for retirement-plan administration to businesses. The unit led to a lot of opportunity and a growing client base in the Syracuse region so there was a need for an office in the area, Maus says.

The company currently leases about 900 square feet from CNBC Holdings LLC, the owner of the Vickery Road property, but Maus says S.E.E.D. is already planning for a larger location in about a year. S.E.E.D. is also in the process of hiring a full-time person to staff that office.

Suite(K) has proven popular for a number of reasons, Maus says. Along with being vendor-neutral, it also includes an educational component. S.E.E.D. planners work with the employees of their clients to reduce financial stress through information about everything from student-loan repayment, retirement readiness, and life events, such as having to place a parent in a nursing home. 

S.E.E.D. will soon add another service to its roster with its upcoming merger with Lakeside Bookkeeping & Tax Service of Whitney Point.

Lakeside will merge with S.E.E.D.’s new Bloom Tax Partners, LLC subsidiary to offer income-tax preparation, income-tax reduction strategies, and bookkeeping services. Kimberly Chidester, who managed Lakeside for 25 years, will join Bloom Tax Partners as a partner and oversee the day-to-day operations, effective Jan. 1.

S.E.E.D. is in the process of renovating just over 2,000 square feet in the old M&T Bank building at 2669 Main St. in the village of Whitney Point to house Bloom Tax Partners, which leases the space from Nick & Kato LLC. Once it’s fully up and running, Bloom will have four full-time and three part-time employees and will likely hire one more employee, Maus says.

Lakeside, which brings 1,300 clients to Bloom Tax Partners had reached a point where it needed to merge with a larger company or stop taking on new clients because it was at capacity, Maus says. Partnering with Bloom introduces the whole suite of S.E.E.D. offerings to Lakeside’s clients and adds tax services as an option for S.E.E.D.’s client base.

With its new offerings, S.E.E.D. is projecting it will generate more than 33 percent year-over-year growth in assets under management. The company currently has $147 million in assets under management, as well as an equal amount in assets under advisement

To manage that growth, the company — headquartered in 6,500 square feet at 31 Lewis St. in the city of Binghamton — will be looking to hire new people. “We’ve been able to attract high-quality, good, similar-valued people,” says Berkeley. Those people are a big part of S.E.E.D.’s success, he adds. “It’s the sum of the parts.”

The company receives an average of two résumés a week, and Stephen Campbell, partner and director of community engagement, credits Maus and Berkeley for the interest in the firm. The two men are innovating and have created an environment people want to join.

“There’s a premium for the right people,” Maus adds. “With the right people, you can grow anything.”