Message From the President: Fall 2023

Steve Lear |

It's somewhat hard to believe that fall is upon us, considering the warm start to September. But, the Vikings have started their season, my daughter Evelyn has started 4th grade, and from our 17th floor windows, you can see color starting to spread through St. Louis Park's trees.

As I thought about what to share in this quarter's message, I reflected back on the summer. Not surprisingly, the main thing that stood out was the big transition to Charles Schwab. I'm grateful to report that there really isn't any more to say about that topic at this time. While we will certainly continue to grow our knowledge and continue to deliver an exceptional service with our new custodian, the transition is safely behind us. So instead, I'd like to share my thoughts on something that you may not know about – Affiance Financial’s robust summer internship program.

Internships have had a meaningful impact at Affiance. They reflect our mission of helping to make lives better by investing in the development of future workers, and they are a valuable part of our talent pipeline.

Our internship program is growing. Affiance has offered a paid summer internship for 10 years. The program launched with a summer investment research intern and expanded in recent years to include a marketing intern. This year we expanded the program again to include a financial planning intern. 

Investing in an internship program has led to lasting relationships. While summer internships only last a few months, they can lead to longer-term opportunities. Some interns are testing the waters in the world of finance. Others are clear on the direction of their career and are seeking valuable experience. In any event, forming broad professional relationships can be mutually beneficial. For the intern, they gain valuable work skills, including how to deliver on projects, communicate, and interact with a variety of business professionals. From a business perspective, we gain valuable support for our existing employees, along with creating new opportunities to grow their management skills.

Summer internships also expand our network and have helped us grow our talent pipeline. In fact, four current employees started out as summer interns. Financial Planners, Brendan Halleron and Dan Lear both interned with us, as well as Financial Planner, Michael Fishman. Each went on to start their career in a field other than Financial Planning, but found their way back to Affiance Financial. Also starting out as a summer intern was Trader and Analyst, Ryan Smith, who was hired full-time ahead of his graduation. 

The latest iteration of our internship program. We recently launched a year-round Data Analyst internship. This new program offers a flexible schedule for an accounting or finance major. We are excited to offer this program, and believe it will provide valuable professional experience and the development of new business skills through coaching from a strong team of professionals. Julia Parr, a soon-to-be graduating senior from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management is the first person to hold this internship.

In addition to the valuable work performed by the interns, an added benefit of the internship program is that it brings some extra energy to the firm each summer. But more importantly, the investments made in our interns serve as an early start to many successful careers – and we draw a lot of pride in this. 

Eric Unger, Partner, President, Chief Compliance Officer

If you know someone who could be a good candidate for a future internship at Affiance Financial, resumes can be emailed to