Building on a Solid Foundation: The Great Oak Story

Great Oak Financial Group and its parent company, Great Oak Advisors, Inc., was founded in 1995 by James Sawyer and Ross Collingwood, after several years of working in financial services.  Both men came from backgrounds in education and teamed up to establish this independent financial planning and advisory firm.  The Great Oak name connected well with Salem, one of the nations “tree cities”.

Their vision was to provide an individualized, client centered approach to financial services.   This approach is particularly valuable for those who have sought to understand more about how they can take advantage of time tested, tax-favored strategies for growth.   

Ross and Jim built a team of five advisors and two support staff, who share their vision and commitment to open, honest, and client focused planning. After over 25 years in the financial services industry Jim Sawyer retired in October 2015. 

Kimberly Harris, an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience, moved into the role of financial advisor and branch manager.  She provides continued service to Jim’s former clients, while at the same time extending her advising services to new clients.  She partners with Ross in the administration and direction of the firm.

Great Oak’s long time approach continues today – making sound financial planning available to “ordinary folks” who have the desire to learn how and where to save. Over the years a question Ross has often asked clients and prospective clients is: “Is your money working as hard as you are?” 

Today our team of advisors is committed to extending the opportunities that Great Oak Financial Group can provide, thus helping clients plan for and pursue a successful retirement.

Mission Statement

Our Associates are committed to helping their clients to potentially...

  • Clarify their financial objectives
  • Find solutions tailored to their changing goals
  • Adopt simple and effective strategies for asset growth
  • Attain long-term financial security

At Great Oak Financial Group, clients...

  • Are the most important people we meet with
  • Are the special VIPs who call on the phone
  • Are the reason for our work...not interruptions to it
  • Are individuals with names, needs and feelings
  • Are the reason we work in financial services