It was 1975, and Don Reilly was a Real Estate Broker at Century 21 who was just getting into the investment side of the business. At that time, Don and his wife, MaryAnn, had some schoolteacher friends who lived down the street. One day, these friends received incredible job offers to teach in the Middle East for a then-unrecognizable company called Aramco.
A year after those friends set out on their journey, they returned home on what’s known as a “repat” to visit family and friends—and for the first time in their lives, they had money saved up and a desire to start saving for retirement.
Because they knew Don had dabbled in investments, they asked Don if he would help them. He was more than happy to help and soon began investing their hard-earned money. It was then that they informed Don there were a lot of American families living and working in the Middle East that had also been saving up money but couldn’t get any assistance investing that money because of their location.
So, still in the mid-seventies, Don and MaryAnn bought two plane tickets to the very distant Saudi Arabia, much to the surprise of their family of growing boys. And what do you know, the trip was a smashing success! Over the next 24 years, Don traveled back to the Middle East multiple times per year to help the growing number of Americans there who needed help investing their assets.
As time went on, the investment landscape began to change. In 1999, Frank Reilly left his post at a large broker/dealer to join Don in creating Reilly Financial Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor. By doing so, the firm became an independent fiduciary acting in the best interests of all clients.
It was then that Don and Frank realized a business plan with all clients originating out of the Middle East was perhaps not the best strategy for the company, its employees, or its clients. And so, Don and Frank decided to take what they had learned over the previous 24 years and offer that same level of service to people living within the U.S.
Most importantly, the duo wanted to create a business that was the type of place they would want to work—a business that treated employees like adults, didn’t ask for more than the standard 40 hours per week, offered quality benefits, and put the best interests of clients ahead of all else.
Reflecting back on this story now, more than 20 years after the formation of Reilly Financial Advisors, we are happy to report that Don and Frank accomplished exactly what they set out to.
Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus