On Sunday mornings, Douglas Eze can often be found standing at a church pulpit spreading the gospel of financial freedom and dispelling money myths. Admittedly, it’s an unusual way for the interim CEO/president of the 11-year-old Largo Financial Services, Inc. to be spending his time, but in many ways, Eze is running an unusual company.
Largo Financial Services takes community outreach very seriously and it’s made its presence known in a very unique way. A pastor wanted to share the life-changing financial information he received, so he invited Eze to speak to his congregation and the response was so overwhelming that Eze began to offer free financial seminars to local churches. Now, Eze can be found speaking at Sunday services across the country about the many ways that hardworking citizens can prepare themselves for important life events. Though Eze’s name may now be synonymous with unheard of customer service and a commitment to financial education, this wasn’t always the case. “When I first started out 15 years ago, I did whatever the company I was working for required of me and my interactions with clients were very impersonal,” Eze explains. “I was an immigrant from Africa, working hard, doing everything I was told to do, but something didn’t feel right.”
What Eze was encountering was that his hardworking American clients reminded him of what first inspired him to enter the industry. Growing up, Eze witnessed the financial hardships faced by those who abruptly lost a family member in his native Nigeria. He still remembers being a teenager and making the connection that when the head of household of a Nigerian family passes, the wealth ends. In America, however, when a wealthy person dies, their wealth triples and that money gets transferred to the family’s younger generations. At the age of 24, Eze began researching the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, and other American dynasties for clues and he used what he learned as the basis for the products he offers today. “After doing presentations, clients would ask me who to make their check out to and I realized it wasn’t the company they were entrusting, it was me. Around that time I started thinking about becoming independent and starting my own company.” Just four years later, he did just that, making personalized service and community outreach top priorities.
Eze aligned himself with CPAs and tax attorneys; he took advanced training on estate planning; and he partnered up with an insurance company that allowed him to design products he believes to be crucially needed, with an emphasis on life-insurance policies that provide benefits without the occurrence of death. Eze works solely on commission and only hires people who sincerely care about the financial wellbeing of the communities they serve. He has become known for hand-delivering policies to his clients, no matter where in the country they’re located, no matter how long a plane ride it requires, and he never sells a customer a product they don’t need. “I’m a virtuous guy and my reputation is all I have. I would never put that on the line to sell something to someone they didn’t need,” Eze said. “I’m in this business for life and I don’t want to have to hide at the mall if I run into a client I sold a bad product to. People trust me, they invite me into their home, and I’m not going to take advantage of that.”
The reason why churchgoers and clients across the country respond so positively to Eze is because he’s not afraid to get personal, shattering the myth that financial professionals always have all the answers. Eze shares mistakes he’s made in the past, hoping potential clients will learn from them and be inspired to make the difficult decisions that will benefit their families in the long run. “Some people may think the things I do aren’t typical, but I’m not just some guy my clients are going to meet once. I want them to know I’m going to be there for them and their kids whenever they need me,” Eze says.