Jason Marsh Climbs Ladder to CEO Position With Hazlett, Burt & Watson
WHEELING — Jason Marsh has been able to grow in the financial services industry without having to travel too far from the farm a short hop over the Ohio County line into Marshall County where he grew up.
A graduate of John Marshall High and West Liberty State College, Marsh has spent 17 years moving up the ladder at Hazlett Burt & Watson Financial Services. He now has ascended to the top rung, taking over as the CEO of the company.
Marsh feels his institutional knowledge of the company and the Ohio Valley will help him in this role, as he continues to help move Hazlett Burt & Watson move forward, especially when it comes to the latest technology.
Over nearly two decades, Marsh, a certified public accountant, has worn many hats at Hazlett Burt & Watson — from assistant comptroller to compliance officer to chief operations officer. His experience within multiple levels of the company gives him what he feels is a deep understanding of its philosophies and ideals. Plus, it eliminates much of the feeling-out period that comes with a new job.
“The learning curve is not as steep,” Marsh said. “I’ve worked with a lot of these financial advisors for the last 17 years. I know how each of them work with their clients and in a lot of their cases what each of their clients’ needs are.
“All of that knowledge, I can bring to that leadership role,” he added, “not just handling the day-to-day, but looking forward to the next five years and next 10 years, how to guide this company.”
That background doesn’t just help within the company. Marsh believes it helps with his relationships with Hazlett Burt & Watson’s clients and the rest of the community. He’s a part of this community, too. Those who call him may have known him for years. People he needs to call are people who know him and that he has known for years.
“Having that local connection goes a long way,” Marsh said. “I think a lot of our clients have come to appreciate that local, personal service that this company has always provided. I think that one of our greatest strengths is that personal service. When the customer needs us, they call and get a live person on the phone and we’re there to immediately assist them with whatever it might be.”
Marsh isn’t just focused on history. When it comes to the company, he has an eye toward the future as well. As part of his previous role as COO, Marsh has kept Hazlett Burt & Watson up to date in terms of technology. Mark Prince, the retiring CEO of Hazlett Burt & Watson and its parent company HB&W Financial Services Group, Inc., said small firms often worry whether they can stay on the leading edge of technology. Marsh, he said, has cultivated a relationship with Fidelity that allows their firm to remain current.
That’s a big plus for customers, Prince said.
“When you’re 138 years old like our company is, sure, you’re proud of that history, and you’ve achieved it because you’ve placed client service No. 1,” Prince said. “But that won’t continue unless you constantly innovate, because people need the latest technology that works for them. People don’t care about your history unless what you’re providing them today and tomorrow is the best thing they can find out there.”
Marsh said it’s important not just to be ahead of the curve on improving efficiencies, but to also stay abreast of how to remain safe. Risk management is just as important of a subject, and it lets Hazlett Burt & Watson to embrace the future while maintaining the tenets that have served as the company’s foundation.
“I think this company is a great blend of tradition and the traditional approach to investing, but melding that and combining that with today’s technology, to make sure we can provide top-notch client service and client investment solutions that our clients have come to expect. The market never stays static. There’s always new technologies and new innovations and this company has always done a very good job of taking stock of all of those and taking a steady approach of adopting ones that have real benefits to our customers.”