If you asked Tony what he wanted to be in high school, he would have said a roadie for AC/DC. If you ask him now, he’d probably say the same thing. Tony is a native of the small New York town of Elmira (population 29,200); a place he describes as having more cows than people. Understandably, the prospect of traveling the world with a rock band was beyond appealing, but his post-college plans changed when he got married and had his first child. “Our first financial plan was fumbling for loose change in the cushions of the couch we bought from the thrift store so we could buy diapers,” Tony remembers with a laugh. Wisely, Tony made the decision to trade his t-shirts for a suit and enter the business world.
After an early stint at Market Street Trust Company, a private trust company providing family office services for the descendants of the founders of Corning, Inc., Tony landed a job at Arthur Andersen. The catch? They wanted him to move to Georgia. “We’d never actually been to Atlanta before, but I figured the weather had to be better than in New York and the housing was probably cheaper” Tony recalls. With that, the Guinta family packed their bags and moved to Atlanta.
Working at Arthur Andersen proved challenging for Tony, who didn’t like the large corporate feel or the company culture. He remembers a project in which countless hours were spent calling different offices around the country for answers just to find out the firm’s expert he needed to reach was two floors above him. When he asked why he wasn’t told this, the response was his manager didn’t like that person.
So, shortly after completing the CFP exam, Tony met with David Homrich and Andy Berg. “Within the first ten minutes of talking to them I realized this is where I wanted to be,” Tony says. “These guys gave advice without conflicts, without selling. They acted in their clients’ best interest, and that’s exactly why I got into this field in the first place.”
The rest is history: Tony joined Homrich Berg in 1999 when the firm had approximately 12 people and a goal of $250 million AUM by the end of the year. Throughout his 20 year tenure at HB Tony has provided expertise primarily in financial planning, including estate and income tax, and charitable giving. Tony was recognized by Worth magazine as one of the country’s top wealth advisors for five consecutive years. He has also been quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.
Today, Tony serves as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer, a position that he enjoys immensely: “I find it challenging. I’m like a forensic accountant at times trying to piece together a puzzle. After serving clients for many years, I like having a job that’s different but still can make an impact. As they say, the CFO only controls a small percentage of what happens but gets blamed for 100% of any problem.”
When asked about retirement and if he still plans on touring with AC/DC, Tony laughs. “I think Atlanta has become a good centralized base for us. I love being near an airport where I can fly anywhere and my kids live nearby. Besides, I can’t leave HB because my wife doesn’t want me at home – it would drive her crazy.”