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Christopher Loeffler ’06 (Baltimore, Md.) got more than he expected out of his summer internship with Valley National Group, Inc., a financial services company based in Bethlehem, Pa.

“I worked at a large investment firm another summer, and all I got to do was copying, stapling, and putting things in order,” the economics and business major explains. “Here I used specialized software programs and learned how the firm analyzes clients’ financial needs.”

Arranged by Thomas M. Riddle ’73, founder and president of Valley National Group, Loeffler’s internship entailed three principal responsibilities: using the firm’s client database, contributing to the administration of Riddle’s “paperless office,” and working on special brokerage projects. It gave him solid training as a financial consultant, from specialized analytical expertise to mundane daily tasks.

Loeffler entered information into the firm’s database and prepared reports to update clients on their accounts. He also helped distribute information to clients on newsworthy events that might affect the price of their investments.

“I ran reports on what investments they hold and matched them to a profile of whether they are conservative, balanced, or aggressive investors,” he says. “The programs gave a graphic illustration of the client’s situation.”

Riddle walked Loeffler through the process of analyzing client needs.

“A client comes in [looking ahead to retirement] and says ‘what do I have to do to get ready?’ We have a complex, customized approach to analyzing a client’s situation to determine whether retirement is affordable,” explains Riddle. “If the client can’t, we tell them how much in part-time wages they have to make or if they can [afford to retire], whether they can buy that vacation home in Arizona or Florida. We run through a ‘what if’ scenario.”

Loeffler learned virtually every aspect of Valley National’s client consultation process and was involved in several key aspects.

“Chris went through that whole process of what a client’s first meeting is like, what the second meeting is like, what the report that goes to them consists of, and how we work with clients to make them understand where they are now and where they have to go,” he continues. “What he did is part of that process – getting asset reports out to clients and getting more information into our databases – and he saw how important that is to the overall client service ritual.”

“Seeing how a firm like this functions has been a real benefit,” says Loeffler. “I’ve seen how it goes about getting business and how it provides service to clients.”

He learned more than just the business aspect of financial services companies.

“I have definitely matured as far as having learned all that is needed in this business,” he says. “I learned more about the financial industry as a whole. I saw how day-to-day business relates to the theories I learned in class. I can watch MSNBC now and really know what they’re talking about. Because of all the experience I’ve had, I’ve gotten confidence. I feel like I stepped into the role pretty well, so I’m less apprehensive about the future.”

Loeffler graduated from Dundalk High School in 2002.

Categorized in: Academic News