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Symposium Spotlight: Q&A with Vice President of Nationwide Annuity Distribution Brokerage Richard Porter

As we prepare for our Annual Symposium, we sat down with Richard Porter from Nationwide Annuity Distribution Brokerage to discuss the industry, his career, and the Diversitas Symposium. Porter is a speaker for our Symposium panel, “Different Career Paths in Wealth Management — Is it Really all Math, Numbers, & Sales?

The upcoming Diversitas Symposium is taking place Wednesday, February 8, 2023. Thanks to our sponsors, the virtual event is free to attend and will dive into the future of the industry and opportunities for young professionals looking to succeed in financial services. Register to attend here.

What attracted you to the industry, and why have you stayed?

I have always wanted to help people with my life’s work. I started college on a pre-med track, thinking I wanted to help people heal and get healthy when they were ill. After undergrad and being accepted into medical school, I decided that medicine wasn’t for me and would instead help the disenfranchised from a legal perspective.

I was introduced to the financial services industry during my 3rd year of law school and was immediately intrigued. After finishing law school and practicing law for a year, the financial services industry and the ability to assist the people of my community kept calling me.

There is no greater calling than helping individuals achieve financial freedom and retiring with dignity. Responsible money management and education can solve both mental and physical health issues and may prevent many adverse legal and tax consequences. Each day I have the opportunity to assist individuals in making generational-defining decisions.

Looking back on your career, what was the biggest turning point and why?

The most significant turning point in my career occurred when others around me saw the “soft” skills necessary to be a leader amongst my peers. Sometimes people see things in you that you don’t even see in yourself. I saw my skill set as “normal” and quickly learned it was slightly different.
Being unexposed to the industry as a minor and young adult, I truly didn’t know what opportunities existed within this industry. I was completely content with doing my job and staying stagnant. I was comfortable. I had to become uncomfortable taking my career to the next level. I realized I needed to complement the soft skills of leadership with acquiring the necessary hard skills for our business. Learning my blind spots and proactively addressing those areas were additional turning points.

Why did you decide to speak at this year’s Diversitas Conference?

I am honored to speak at this year’s Diversitas conference because I find this to be a life-changing industry. I am speaking from a personal perspective and experience.
I want individuals from all walks of life, not just the upper-middle/upper class, to have a minimum general knowledge of the financial services industry. Growing up where I did, there was a minimal understanding of “sales” as a career path.
The examples we had were the individuals that sold vacuum cleaners door to door, the individual that sold candy out of the candy house, and local drug dealers menacing the community. The ability to sell medical devices, pharmaceuticals, financial products, or services was completely foreign. This is a different industry where you can help an unlimited number of people and make life-changing money.

I learned new things about Cambridge and the securities industry at large. I began to work on projects and initiatives that allowed me to represent the voice of our financial professionals. It has been refreshing, and I have found that while the legal side will always be there for me, I truly enjoy the relationship management side and could not imagine my career without it. Also, as a nice bonus, I no longer immediately strike fear into the hearts of our financial professionals when they see me calling or emailing them. That’s a nice perk as well.

Richard C.Y. Porter, JD, MBA is the Vice President for the Brokerage Annuity Distribution Channel. In his role, he is responsible for managing all commission and fee-based annuity sales and distributions through broker-dealer partners including financial Institutions, wirehouse, independent broker dealer firms and specialty markets.

Richard began his career practicing corporate law at the largest regional law firm in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2009, he started his career at Prudential as a Regional Vice President within the Independent Broker-Dealer channel.

Richard was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and currently resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife Toi and their two children Chase and Kai. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family as well as watching basketball, golfing and traveling.