Co-Founder of My Pathway, Retirement Plan Consultant and Investment Manager
When Layton Cox, CPFA, first started classes at Eller College, he wasn’t thinking about starting his own company. He was an accounting major who was very active in non-Eller organizations, holding high-level leadership positions, including president and vice president of finance of the UA Interfraternity Council. Now, two years after he graduated with a BSBA in accounting, he’s launching a business with another UA grad that will revolutionize financial planning.
“We think of ourselves as Cyborg advisors,” Cox said of himself and his My Pathway co-founder, Brian M. Murphy, AIF. Murphy graduated from UA in 1983 with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature and founded Pathways Financial Partners more than 17 years ago. “We came up with the idea for My Pathway while I was attending Eller and interning for Brian’s wealth management firm,” Cox said.
Launching in January 2016, My Pathway combines the efficient technology of robo-advisors with the essential human interactions that traditional financial advisors deliver.
“The financial services industry is one of the slowest industries to react to new technologies. This could be due to compliance reasons or because the average financial advisor is 50, but either way, the financial services industry has not adopted the internet and software automation as much as other industries have,” Cox said. “Robo-advisors are proof that the industry is changing, but they’re lacking customized, personal service.”
Cox said My Pathway was originally designed to be a niche product for young recent graduates, but it has transformed to help people of all ages. “There is no doubt in my mind that we can help people who have gone through a financial challenge and need some help getting back on their feet. Whether that's bankruptcy, job-loss, sizable investment losses, or just slow-to-start savers, My Pathway can still help them move towards their financial goals,” he said.
A Texas native, Cox credits his professors at Eller for encouraging him to pursue his dream of starting his own business.
“Obviously, my class load had a tremendous impact on my current knowledge, but I would also say that the atmosphere of innovation and liberty to turn a class project into a fun hobby really helped me organize and start My Pathway. Even though I wasn't involved in the entrepreneurship program, all of my teachers encouraged starting your own business or making a project your own. We were given a lot of liberties to what we wanted to do in our projects that really helped me learn more about the areas of business I was drawn to,” he said.
He also feels fortunate that he had several mentors along the way, including Brian Murphy, dean Jeff Schatzberg, who taught cost and managerial accounting, and an Eller MBA student, Phil Thornton.
“I've learned more from those three men than most classes,” he said. “They taught me how to be an adult, the ethics of business, the relationship building nature of business, and that you have to do something you love at the end of the day.”
While 2016 is shaping up to be a great year professionally for Cox, he’s also looking forward to marrying his fiancé, Angelina, in May. When he’s not busy planning their wedding and honeymoon, he plays flag football in a local Tucson league with several other Eller grads, and he jumps at any chance to play golf.
And, while his connections to Eller College still run deep, he believes the best education comes from interacting with others. “If I could give a single tip to current Eller students it would be: do more than just your course work. Go get involved on campus, get an internship or even a part-time job, and meet new people and make new friends.”