Chamber Spotlight: Alex Urpí, Emergent Financial Services, LLC

Alex Urpi

Alex Urpí is CEO and Investment Advisor at Emergent Financial Services, LLC. He is also Treasurer of the Chamber Business Diversity Council.

What is unique about your organization and the work you do in our community?

We have two unique aspects at Emergent Financial Services: our discipline and the fact that we’re a Hispanic-family-owned-and-oriented firm. That means all our partners are dedicated in trust to our mission and that we focus on making sure that our work with families in our community to prepare for retirement meets all their needs, whether that’s meeting with them on Saturdays or after-hours or helping them with financial planning until they have saved enough to invest. Since we are a family business with no middlemen, the people that our clients meet with are the same people caretaking their hard-earned savings. When they need to talk to someone, that someone is always a dedicated member of our company. We pride ourselves not on trying to game the markets or chase short-term gains but on staying disciplined and following the investment strategies that we agree upon and promise to pursue with our clients.

What’s most important for the future of our regional business community?

Maintaining our focus on and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs, especially among our growing Latino community. As a regional community with several large players like the University, it can become too easy to fall into the trap of consolidating business in ever-larger firms. But true per-capita prosperity comes from entrepreneurs and small businesses creating new value and giving back to our community, and if we can remove obstacles to and spur entrepreneurship among our diverse and Latino communities we can unleash a wave of yet-untapped economic potential.

How did you choose the field you’re in?

I think reaching this field has been more of a journey than a particular “choice” or moment of decision. My father has been in the business of investing in fixed income (bonds) for over 35 years now and has owned his own business since I was 3 years old, so I can’t remember a time when investing and entrepreneurship were not part of my life. I have always loved writing and communicating, then I fell in love with economics in high school, fell in love with Spanish in college, and gravitated through investment research (writing + economics) to helping people with investment advice in both English and Spanish.

What's the best advice you ever got (or gave)?

Two pieces of advice come to mind. One, from Aristotle, shared with me long ago (by my father, if I’m remembering rightly): “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” I am always trying to live by that mentality. The second, more recently, that has struck me as powerfully true: It is impossible to have authority without responsibility. If you want to have authority or leadership in anything (your life, your firm, your family, your organization), you cannot shirk the responsibility.

Who are you grateful to, and why?

I’m always grateful to my God, without Whom I wouldn’t be here and Who truly transformed my life and gives me the strength to take on all that I do, from Emergent to Forward/Adelante to the Charlottesville Scholarship Program and CIC. I am able to love and serve others because He first loved and served me. In that same vein I am grateful to my parents and my brothers; there are too many reasons why to list, but I think the one that covers all of them is the fact that they have always been there for me and always will be.

What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?

I hope to be still growing, still learning, still serving others. I hope to see my clients at Emergent Financial Services thriving and growing, and I hope to see the Latino community I work with as President of the Forward/Adelante Business Alliance show Charlottesville and the world what incredible dreams and success we are capable of.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

I am part Cuban, which means there is nothing on this earth too sweet for my sweet tooth, and part Italian, which means pasta. My Cuban side says sweets: ice cream, lemon meringue pie, and pastel de tres leches. My Italian side says: pasta with clams, lasagna, or pasta with tomato sauce and ricotta.

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