For some, these are just words. For Mark T. Warner, they provide a powerful description of the way he has lived his life both personally and professionally.
Since beginning his business career over 40 years ago, Mark has demonstrated the remarkable ability to adapt to what is happening in the market today while looking forward to the opportunities it will bring in the future.
Starting Early While still in college, Mark began selling insurance for a major carrier and was promoted to branch manager while still in his early 20’s. He was subsequently recruited by Excel InterFinancial Corp., where he pioneered pension plan strategies that focused on real estate investments inside of pension plans—a novel approach at the time—which ultimately became the primary focus of all Houston-based operations for the company and is now widely utilized in the industry today.
In 1983, Mark opened his own financial services practice. Operating on funds he had carefully saved from his earnings, he quickly gained a reputation for both excellent service and results. Within 15 years, he built a book of business with assets under management valued at over $50 million. His greatest achievement, however, is the long-term relationships he has built with his clients, many of whom came to him based on his management of their parents’ financial matters.
Building Business Mark’s focus on the long game led him to enter the real estate market in the late 1990’s as an effort to maximize returns, including commercial investments. Knowing how home ownership could be a valuable part of an individual’s portfolio, he then began the arduous process of establishing and building a “one stop” firm at which clients could receive investment advice, help in finding a home and mortgage lending services, FireDream Financial Group, Inc. His idea proved to be a successful one, and the company was able to serve the diverse needs of clients for nearly a decade.
Always Looking—and Moving—Forward When the housing market crashed in 2008, Mark was committed to keeping the company moving forward by giving those seeking to purchase or refinance a home what they wanted most: transparency. Investing his own money in the project as well as investment capital he secured, he sought out software developers and teamed them with lending professionals and marketers to develop an online technology allowing individuals seeking a mortgage to see and take advantage of wholesale lender pricing. Just as the product completed beta testing and was ready to be marketed, changes in U.S. lending laws and the market rendered it obsolete.
Despite this setback, Mark was determined that FireDream would survive the economic downturn. He began to reposition the company. Today, FireDream now has a two-pronged focus: residential and commercial real estate acquisitions, and financial services for both individuals and businesses.
Mark has always felt that when one gains experience and knowledge, he should then share it so others can benefit. A father of eight, he quickly learned just how expensive college would be and set out to learn how to maximize public and private funds to finance their education.
Having navigated through the college application and financing maze repeatedly, Mark put his expertise to work. He taught families how to structure their finances to their benefit and worked with them to understand how not to pay for a college education. He partnered with College Planning Network, LLC, the largest college planning company in the US. College Planning Network has helped over 20,000 students get accepted to the universities that were best for them and at significant financial savings. Devoting hundreds of hours of his time and a significant personal investment, Mark and his team have engaged fully in helping Texas families with this time-consuming, confusing and often-overwhelming task.
Transparency Mark’s belief system includes being open and honest personally and professionally. As a long-time registered representative and investment advisor, he helped countless individuals with planning and investment. In his decades of work, two “disclosure events” are found on Mark’s FINRA record (found here.)
Item One: February 2013 Following a five-day, random inspection conducted by the Texas Securities Commission in 2012, a single infraction was found. Mark had formed an oil and gas partnership for the benefit of some of his clients. In the Private Placement Memorandum for the partnership, Mark mistakenly used the word “commission” instead of the word “fee”. He paid the $5,000 fine as required. As of this writing, clients who invested in the partnership have not lost any money and continue to receive income from 3 gas wells located in North Texas.
Item Two: November 2001-February 2002 The second item on the FINRA record was a customer dispute settled for $837,500. The suit filed was filed against his former broker-dealer and that broker-dealer paid
Education Mark, a college basketball player, attended the University of Utah while building his insurance business. After relocating to Houston, he continued to pursue his education first in Houston and later in Dallas while working full time. He completed his BA at the University of North Texas in Finance.
Proven Mark’s abilities to foster relationships and bring together experts from multiple disciplines are evident in his more than 35 years of business. His integrity, as well as his commitment to investors, has been proven time and time again. His constant drive to find opportunities even in light of challenges through the exploration and development of new strategies and technologies sets Mark apart as a business leader.
Smart, funny and upbeat, Mark also brings enthusiasm to everything he does both on and off the job. He has been married to his wife Jane for over four decades and is a proud father and grandfather. He is active in his church and volunteer activities in the DFW area.