ABOUT THE FIRM
HOW WE BECAME SPHERE
I believe everyone comes to a point in their life when they decide to do what they believe is right, and stop worrying about the consequences. For me, that was in early 2014, after 4 years of being an "advisor" (salesman) for Raymond James. I realized my clients were only as good as the revenue they could produce for the firm, and I, already disappointed in our industry, lost the ability to stand silent another day. Sphere was born, out of the idea that the industry is absolutely broken, and we can do a better job for clients if we'll put aside the sales pressure and remove all the conflicts of interest.
While I believe most "advisers" are inherently helpful, honest people with the best intentions, they work in an industry that's completely broken, and has been for a very long time. Clients deserve an experience that aligns the adviser's interests with the client's, provides transparency, and a deeper understanding of the client's goals and objectives. What I learned about advisers, is that the expectation of the firm they work for, isn't that they actually advise clients, it's that they generate revenue.
I walked away from the financial security that can come from not disrupting the status quo, to find myself overwhelmed, and running out of money and hope, chasing a dream I wasn't sure would ever be realized. Looking back now, I realize how much I didn't know about what we needed to do as a firm. I was full of youthful energy and a desire to do something different, I just didn't have any idea how to actually do it. All I knew is that I wanted to take this robust service model, historically reserved for the "financial elites," and offer it to people who have never had access to it before.
I understood the types of teams high net worth families used, and I set out to build a similar team of partners, each one specialized in their area of expertise, and then grant each one of our clients access to the entire team. We began to really start putting the pieces together in late 2016 and it's been a really fun ride to be apart of since then. We're ready to join you on your journey to financial security, it's definitely worth your time to meet us:
JOHN PAUL, AIF®
John co-founded Sphere in January of 2015, he oversees process development for the compliance, operations, and strategy of the firm. He oversees economic, sector, and equity research while also developing the firm's core investment strategies. John graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2008, moved to Boston to take a job with John Hancock's Wood Logan desk and returned to Arkansas in 2010 to work with individual clients at Raymond James before starting Sphere. John spends a lot of time enjoying the beautiful parks and outdoor spaces around Northwest Arkansas.
DONALD J. PAUL
Don designs and manages how our firm interacts with Clients and oversees the marketing and service sides of our organization. Don joined Sphere in 2017 because after 27 years in financial services, almost entirely within a Bank, he began recognizing the conflicts of interest and lack of transparency within the broker/dealer side of our industry. Don, and his wife Terri, have a truly unique outlook on life and spend each day working to better their community in small ways. They have three adult children and a bushel of grandkids they try to spend as much time with as possible.
KEITH D. LEA
Keith is responsible for the firms core equity, alternative, and fixed income portfolios. He oversees the selection and execution of securities, portfolio diversification and rebalancing, and fixed income laddering. Keith joined Sphere in 2017 after 33 years in the financial services industry, most with the Bank of Fayetteville but also spent several years at Arvest and A.G. Edwards. Keith, and his wife Sharon, have truly enjoyed living and raising children in Fayetteville. They love spending time with family and being involved in their local church's efforts to make a positive impact in the community.
TEDDY AWUAH, AIF®
Teddy joined Sphere in February of 2019, he is responsible for all group retirement plans the firm manages and/or consults. He handles client onboarding and experience, as well as development and execution of ERISA specific fiduciary processes. Teddy graduated from Liberty University in 2006, and began his financial services career in 2008 in Boston, on John Hancock’s Wood Logan desk. In 2010, Teddy joined John Hancock’s Retirement Plan Services division and eventually became the Regional Account Manager covering the entire state of Texas. He also spent time as a Retirement Plan consultant with Comerica Bank and Wealth Development Strategies before joining Sphere. Teddy, his wife Shante and their son Genesis, are very involved in their local church and in their community.