‘Little Angie’ rings big bell

Angie Fritter
Growing up in Varina, Angie Fritter was consumed by her passion for softball, and experienced a huge thrill as a 14-year-old when she played in a world softball tournament with her travel team.

Today, nearly three decades later, Fritter's passion is her work as a financial advisor – and she experienced another huge thrill this morning when she rang the bell that signifies the opening of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

As secretary for Women in Insurance and Financial Services (which puts her in line for the national presidency in 2013), Fritter joined her fellow WIFS officers on the floor for the bell ringing at 9:30 a.m. NYSE officials chose the officers for the honor in recognition of the 75th anniversary of WIFS.

News of the honor has resulted in a flood of messages and kudos, says Fritter, who remarks, "The market is something I look at every day, but I honestly didn’t expect others to care that much.

"We have clients calling and emailing to get instructions on how to view [the bell-ringing] and how they can get a picture. Even my parents – who are in their 60s – are forwarding the announcement to friends.

"It has blown me away."

But all the excitement is just icing on the cake, insists Fritter, compared to the rewards she reaps daily as a financial planner.

She prides herself on her abililty – or gift, as she calls it – to use analogies and terminology that break down complicated topics of insurance and investment into language clients can understand. Being able to encourage clients and "hold their hands" as she helps them through rough financial times is enormously satisfying, she says –as is presenting checks to bereaved spouses and knowing they will enjoy financial security.

"A lot of times," Fritter says, "clients will ask me, 'Angie, how are you going to get paid?'

"The ways I get paid are so much more than financial. Client relationships spur me on to know more, to do more, and to give more. . . Ringing the bell is just another way that I am getting paid."

Through her work with WIFS and the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) – which represents the top one percent of professionals in her field across the world – Fritter has also found satisfaction in helping other women develop their potential in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry.

A 1986 Varina H.S. graduate who still plays softball for her church (Fairmount Christian), Fritter says that classmates may remember her for leadership of a different variety: as the organizer of a senior sit-in.

"All the seniors walked out of class at the same time," Fritter recalls, "to protest the school’s decision to not follow through on several senior traditions.

"And it was a success!"

Although her big moment on the NYSE floor will conclude this morning, Fritter looks forward to several more days of excitement in the Big Apple.

She and her daughter, Ainsley, who flew into town the day after Christmas, will get a tour of the New York Life home office, go ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza, and visit the 9/11 Memorial. (New York Life, one of Fritter's vendors, will play host to the pair during the stay.) Fritter also plans to surprise her daughter with tickets to the Rockettes Christmas spectacular.

"As an added bonus," says Fritter, "it's been arranged so Ainsley can be on the floor of the Exchange [for the ceremony], which is crazy good because normally there is an age requirement. Ainsley is going to be so thrilled."

"It’s just cool," Fritter adds, "and I’m so thankful to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Little Angie from Varina!"

Read the Henrico Citizen print edition Jan. 5 to view a photo of the bell-ringing; a video of the event should also be available soon on YouTube.

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