By The Virginian-Pilot By Sandra J. Pennecke

NORFOLK — A year ago, Jason Friedman was working as a financial adviser when he realized the difficulties people often face when trying to find their own financial advisers.

“People either didn’t know where to go, didn’t know who to trust or thought financial advisers weren’t accessible to them,” he said.

Almost like a light bulb moment, Friedman said he decided to create a platform that would make that search easier.

In June 2022, Friedman and a startup team of five, all based in Virginia, started AdvisorFinder, an online marketplace that helps people find and research vetted financial advisers.

“We do this by enabling individuals to filter based on an adviser’s specialty, their location, who they typically work with and more,” he said. “And we’re releasing the first AI-enabled search engine to personalize the search even more. It’s kind of like Airbnb, but for the financial industry.”

Friedman said he realized that as more people face financial challenges in light of the current economy and with today’s technology and digitization at everyone’s fingertips, it made sense to create the platform. And it’s quickly grown nationally.

Jason Friedman, CEO, AdvisorFinder (Courtesy photo)

“Ultimately, people can make a much more informed decision about who they trust with their money,” he said. “And go about life without feeling the burden and stress from their finances.”

The Virginia Beach native graduated from Cape Henry Collegiate in 2014 and then earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and risk management from the University of South Carolina. Since graduating, Friedman worked in the wealth management industry first for Wells Fargo Advisors in Nashville, Tennessee, and then he moved back to Virginia Beach to work for Merrill Lynch.

That’s where he was the day he realized he wanted to solve a problem and become an entrepreneur.

Now the CEO of AdvisorFinder, operating from an office space within Assembly in Norfolk, Friedman said marketplaces exist to help people find everything from a doctor to a babysitter. This one brings the same convenience to help them find a financial adviser.

The site currently has 165 professional financial advisers from throughout the U.S., including several in Hampton Roads, Richmond and Northern Virginia, with a multitude of specialties. Clients can peruse and search the site for free. It costs financial advisers $389 per year to have their personal profile on AdvisorFinder.

Jacinta Gauvin, financial adviser, Raymond James (Courtesy photo)

Jacinta Gauvin, a financial adviser in Virginia Beach with the investment banking company Raymond James, is one of them. Gauvin said she joined AdvisorFinder in February as soon as she learned about it on LinkedIn because there is nothing else like it.

“I really like how they are more client-focused on letting them make their own decision instead of gathering data and selling it to advisers,” she said.

Referring to AdvisorFinder as another tool that has cast a wider net for her to offer her services to clientele, Gauvin said she was even more overjoyed to learn the company founders were local.

“From day one, I’ve been blown away by how friendly they are, how easy they are to work with and they’ve provided feedback on my profile,” she said.

Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836,