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MELBOURNE, Fla. – The decision of $1 billion Space Coast Credit Union to revamp its SCCU Investment Services by bringing management in house rather than rely on outsourcing has proven to be a financially sound one. For nearly a year, four of the investment subsidiary’s financial advisors have been meeting with members at the credit union’s 20 branches. Assets under management have since doubled to $25 million with those numbers projected to be at $50 million by the end of this year, said Tom Baldwin, chief financial officer at Space Coast CU. SCCU Investment Services currently serves 700 member clients. With 120,000 members, the credit union is the largest state-chartered credit union in Florida. “It was time for us to move forward with a full scope of investment services,” Baldwin said. “With our initiatives the past year to expand in many of our product areas, including mortgages and online services, and our concentration on new facilities, additional ATM locations, and continued improvements in member service, we were ready to expand into other arenas like investment services and business products.” Last October, Tom Decker was named to head SCCU Investment Services and will handle the day-to-day management of the division’s full-service investment program and consult with the SCCU management team on new products and services. Decker will also continue to maintain his existing client relationships while developing new client relationships as a registered investment advisor for CUSO Financial Services, L.P. SCCU members will be able to access service brokerage, investment and insurance products through CFS. “It’s important for clients and advisors to create and navigate their financial plan together,” Decker said. “The plan must also be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the client’s lifestyle or goals.” Decker said while consumers continue to become more diverse with financial investments, many still find it challenging to stay on top of the ever-changing product offerings, tax laws, fund regulations and investment opportunities. Many admit to having a novice understanding of their investment products and wish they had time to better understand how to invest their money or which fund is right for college funding, he added. The decision to bring investment management services in house was prompted by the need to have better control and “better relation of the retail portions,” Baldwin said. With an outsourced firm, there were at most, two financial representatives making the rounds but control was all but elusive. “We took the necessary steps to gain back control and we’re pleased with the results,” Baldwin said. Members that use SSCU Investment Services tend to have multiple accounts and higher incomes, Baldwin pointed out but the target market is any member who has a need for those services. “Someone might just need a certain CD,” he said. “Every member might not have a need for the services but we try to keep their best interests in mind.” As the credit union plans to build more branches this year, at least one additional financial advisor will be hired. Members can either choose a traditional advisor arrangement that includes no-cost, no obligation investment consultations and online investment statements or use a combination of advisor-assisted and self-directed investments. One of those self-directed options comes from CFS. Members can invest in stocks, options and mutual funds and free quotes, charts and analysis. The investment subsidiary also offers financial planning including asset allocation; retirement, college and estate planning as well as insurance reviews. “Most investors have had lackluster returns on their investments over the past few years, and have expressed their displeasure with their brokers,” Baldwin said. “With that in mind, SCCU has concentrated on hiring seasoned professionals like Tom Decker to offer members experienced service.” [email protected]

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