- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2002

"How do I make more money?" or "How can I protect myself from a bad market?" are inquiries repeated over and over at mutual fund company T. Rowe Price's Farragut Square location.

As a financial adviser at the firm, John C. Mogg Jr. always has the same response.

"That's not important," he says. "It's not an issue of timing the market but understanding that you have to be in it for the long term."

Mr. Mogg has had to repeat that more often than ever in the past year as the market performs poorly. The Enron debacle also has played a role in attracting nervous people to Mr. Mogg's office.

"People are taking a closer look at their accounts so that something like what happened at Enron doesn't happen to them," he says.

Employers are also contacting their 401(k) retirement-plan providers among which T. Rowe Price is a major player to have financial advisers visit the company and educate its employees about plan options.

So about twice a month now, Mr. Mogg goes out to companies for a day or two, sometimes three, to tell plan members about their investments.

"It's great because we get to get out of the office and meet new clientele," Mr. Mogg says. "It's a chance to cross-sell services."

On a recent rainy day that seemed to dampen the flow of office clients, Mr. Mogg kept himself busy by making follow-up calls on his assigned monthly leads. The list comes to him and every other financial adviser from the main T. Rowe office in Baltimore. The names are collected from clients who contacted any of the mutual fund's call centers asking for specific products or services.

Mr. Mogg browses through his leads and calls, but because he does so during business hours, often nobody is at home. So he leaves messages advising people to call back or come see him if they have questions about the literature T. Rowe sent them after their initial call.

Some 85 percent to 90 percent of his calls are returned, Mr. Mogg says. That's because the service is free, and chances are that someone who showed enough interest to call the company on his or her own will be interested in sitting down with a financial adviser for further information.

"We like the one-on-one approach, and people feel more comfortable," he says. "They always have a lot of questions."

Mr. Mogg appears a tidy person, with an uncluttered office and immaculately organized stacks of folders and papers. No pictures grace his desk, so the only adornment in his office is a large photograph of the Los Angeles skyline, where T. Rowe Price has one of its 11 nationwide locations.

For Mr. Mogg, it would have made more sense to have a picture of Tampa, a place where the company has offices and is also his hometown. But a colleague, also from Tampa, got that one, leaving Mr. Mogg to gaze upon L.A.'s glamorous skyline when he gets a chance to stop and think.

Not that downtime is a regular occurrence. In fact, because the walk-in traffic comes in around lunchtime, Mr. Mogg doesn't even stop for the midday meal. Instead he munches on a snack an hour before or after lunchtime, just enough to hold him over until he gets home to his wife in Occoquan, Va.

At 27, Mr. Mogg is a like a poster child for T. Rowe Price. He began working for the company when he graduated from Florida State University in 1997. His job then was with the retail investment unit, taking calls from customers interested in such deals.

When the opportunity presented itself for him to move to Washington three years ago, he took it for two reasons: He wanted to pursue an MBA at George Washington University and he wanted to try his luck at being a financial adviser, dealing with people face-to-face rather than over the phone.

Since then, he has earned the master's degree and is again focusing on his career. The next step he would like to take is into the advisory division.

As he explains it, customers go there for more direct and aggressive advice about what to invest in to make more money.

His current job is more about education and steering the customer, rather than making decisions for them.

Still, there's no such thing as a typical appointment any more than there is a typical client, Mr. Mogg says.

Some people are novices and know nothing about the stock market, bonds or retirement or education savings plans.

Those appointments can last as long as three or four hours, as client and adviser go over finances, goals and investment strategies.

Other clients are familiar with investing and might need just a few minutes to make adjustments to their holdings or discuss potential deals.

And there's always the usual: "How do I make more money?"

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