WORCESTER – As an Assumption College junior back in 1977, Thomas Bartholomew was fortunate enough through his own accord to be hired as an intern at the former New England Mutual Life Insurance Co. (now under Metropolitan), planting the seeds for what has become a successful career in financial services.
Bartholomew interned as a sales associate for the last two years of his schooling and then went to work there full-time, leaving in 1981 for a new opportunity at the Worcester County National Bank. In 1994, he founded and currently serves as president of the Worcester-based Bartholomew & Company, Inc. Today, his company sports a team of 23 employees, including registered representatives, registered assistants, and support staff that manages in excess of $1.4 billion annually. His firm was honored in 2016 as Barron’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors for 2016” and as the Financial Times’ “Top 400 Financial Advisers.”
“Instead of coming out of school starting from scratch when I graduated, I already had a couple years of experience and was able to get a head start on a lot of other folks,” says Bartholomew. “At the tail end of the recession in the late 1970s, there was not a lot of employment around. So I was fortunate to have had that opportunity.”
Back then, internships were not nearly as prevalent and organized as many of today’s formal agreements are crafted between colleges and employers. “Colleges did not generally place interns back then,” Bartholomew recalls. “And the failure rate in the insurance business is still quite high. When that company hired me as an intern, it was something quite new and not done to any great level of success.”
Bartholomew’s early experiences inspired his own commitment to providing internship opportunities at his company today coupled with the growing trend toward younger people becoming more interested in the financial services field. His company hosts high school and college students for semester-long formal programs. The firm’s last intern this past spring was a junior at West Boylston High School, which hosts a formal internship program. Over the years, at least 10 students have benefited from the company’s paid and unpaid tutorials. One of those former interns from two years ago, Kathleen Glowacki, is now back on his team as a full-time analyst who just started in that role this month.
As an intern, Glowacki was also involved in client services and analytical work. “She was such a talent that we were right on getting her to come back here,” Bartholomew says. “She went to school as an economics major and this is something she always has wanted to do. This was clearly right in her wheelhouse.”
Glowacki stuck with financial services studies in college because she knew it would be a field that constantly changes and allows for new learning daily. “After interning with the Bartholomew team, I experienced a real-life example of my dream to keep monotony as far away from my working life as possible along with maintaining those topics that I was interested in,” Glowacki says.
She later became a research intern, which not only encapsulated the big-picture of economics, but also a new world of investigation to understand the complex details of finance for the betterment of real people and institutions. “The internship was really the best of every world, and it led me to a full-time job where I knew I would not only love the work, but also the team that I work with,” Glowacki says.
Bartholomew feels the most difficult aspect for his new and younger employees to learn involves knowing the differences and relationships between product and process. “The product is textbook and reasonably straightforward,” he says. “But learning the product application, or process by which you measure results will take years to master.”
The largest challenges his interns and the company face today is managing growth, understanding regulatory hurdles and delivering on client expectations, given Bartholomew & Company, Inc. has grown assets for all 22 years minus one dip in 2009 when it still managed to break even.
“We’ve had over a billion dollars in assets for the past three years,” he says, which makes it one of the largest financial services institutions in Central Mass., and a very attractive one for interns to place at.
1Barron’s Top 1,200 listing is based on assets under management, revenues generated by advisors for their firms, quality of their practices (which includes examination of regulatory records), and philanthropic work.
2Financial Times Top 400 is based on each advisor’s performance in several primary areas, including assets under management, asset growth, compliance record, experience, credentials, and accessibility. For the full methodology, please visit ft.com.
(Thomas J. Bartholomew, AIF® is a financial advisor located at Bartholomew & Company, Inc., 370 Main Street, Suite 1000, Worcester, MA 01608. He offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Fixed insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency. He can be reached at 800-440-8807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)