When President Gerald Ford signed the Pension Reform Act of 1974 into law — better known as ERISA — he made Tetsu Tanimoto's professional life a little easier. Tanimoto was about six years in the advisory game at the time and was looking for a way to stay ahead of the competition. The reform, which established requirements and standards for private pension plans, provided Tanimoto with a new group of possible clients whose retirement money was now being protected by the federal government. “I bought the book and read about ERISA and said, ‘Wow, this stuff is really important.’ That's when I started making these accounts part of my business,” Tanimoto recalls.

In an environment where traditional stockbrokers are being encouraged (OK, perhaps it's more like being flogged) to offer broad financial-planning services, reps may not realize that, on the contrary, offering a specialized service (or having a particular expertise) is the key to success. In short, generalists don't make the most money. At least, that's the conclusion of Andre Cappon, president of The CBM Group, a New York-based financial consulting group. Cappon has found that top producers usually have some sort of specialty, albeit one that it is realized several years into their practices. Indeed, Registered Rep.'s Top 50 Advisors list is filled with experienced reps whose specialties range from high-net-worth families and wealthy individuals to estate planning and tax services; only a few individuals on the list consider themselves to be generalists.

Many Roads to the Promised Land

On the surface the message from industry consultants is that the promised land can be reached via several different routes. They'll even say that there are different business models that will lead you to a successful practice. But all of these voices are coupled with one other piece of advice: You need to have a focus, a specialty. The focus can be based on demographics, products or even on an expertise in specific aspects of advising like, say, retirement planning or wealth transfers.

Consider this: Advisors in their 20th year of production use approximately one-and-a-half products and receive 75 percent of their commissions from the primary product used, according to one of The CBM Group's studies. Compare that to neophyte reps who, on average, use three products with 55 percent of their total commissions coming from the principal product. “This shows that, over time, there is specialization in advisors' practices,” Cappon says. Our survey bears this out; the average number of years the Top 50 reps have spent with their current firm is 15.

So how do you get to the top? Mark Tibergien, partner at the Seattle-based consulting firm Moss Adams, says certain questions have to be asked at different stages of the advisor's professional life. “The structure and position of your business will have to change. And what you're forced to ask is: ‘Is my strategy still relevant?’” The first phase of the business is a survival game. “Out of 100 reps, maybe 25 will make it in the first couple years,” says Cappon. “Then, there is room to breathe and even a reasonable income.” But, to really rake in the dosh, advisors eventually have to step back and revise their strategy even further. The reassessment is comparable to a client who is entering the retirement phase of his life and exiting the accumulation stage. “What got you here won't get you there,” Tibergien says.

Tibergien says an advisor should ask himself the following questions every year to keep from losing sight of the overall strategy:

  • What are your current capabilities and what can you build on?

  • Who is your optimal client, and what are his characteristics?

  • Who are the competitors for those clients, and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

  • What's your personal definition of success?

By building on your capabilities, Tibergien means hiring more experienced staffers, continuing to improve your own financial education and upgrading your technology infrastructure (if you are an RIA). These are just some examples of what you could be building on. In identifying your optimal client, you'll zone in on what your specialty could be. Here the advisor should determine what type of client he would like to work with and what types of services he would need to offer that client. “The big question is whether or not you are structured in a way that allows you to serve these certain types of clients profitably,” he says.

When sizing up rivals, it's important to recognize that there are a lot of advisors out there, but not everyone is your competitor. Tibergien says the challenge is finding out why your optimal client seeks the help of another advisor, then deciding on whether you'll differentiate yourself from the competitors or go toe-to-toe with them.

Defining Your Strategy

One way to differentiate yourself from your rivals — and this may sound silly — is to figure out what is important to you. That's because, certain aspects of the business are more fulfilling to one advisor than they are to another. “Some people say they want to do only what fulfills them. Others say certain things are not negotiable, like helping people achieve financial independence but getting paid well to do it. Strategy without vision is career suicide,” Tibergien says.

John Fitzpatrick, an advisor with UBS in New York who specializes in high-net-worth families, says he recalls having to go back and redesign his clients' plans after realizing “that something was missing.” He says estate planning was not talked about when he began practicing in 1985. But, he learned in the early 1990s how important estate planning was, so he had to go back to his clients and integrate estate planning into their plans. Specialization is a learning process, he says. For him “it was a trial-and-error process but, over time, I think we broke the code of what our clients need to have.”

It helps that Tanimoto and Fitzpatrick had some idea about who their ideal type of client was and the specialization they were seeking. But for advisors unsure or lacking passion for any particular aspect of the business, Cappon says it may come down to a matter of trial and error. “Many advisors find something that works after trying different things,” he says.

And there is nothing wrong with that. Take the case of Tim Cass, a Morgan Stanley financial advisor who now manages $1.2 billion in assets. Cass says he more or less lucked into his forte, individuals in the health care industry. That healthy affiliation began out of a team relationship with a Morgan Stanley investment banker who focused on that sector. “More than anything it was fate that I was introduced to the investment banker of the health care side. It was just something that happened,” he says. After 21 years in the business, Cass says he's focused exclusively on separately managed accounts over the last five years. He suggests that young reps be selective when prospecting clients. “Doing all things for everyone doesn't work as well as focusing on a specific sector of the business,” Cass says.

Dennis Gallant, founder of Gallant Distribution Consulting firm in Sherborn, Mass., says an advisor can't be all things to all people. “Those who can explore a particular niche and develop a depth of knowledge with a more refined targeted approach to the niche can accumulate a lot assets. You're an inch wide and mile deep,” he says.

The benefits don't stop just there, though. “When you specialize in an area, you actually know what you're talking about,” Cappon jokes. Advisors win more credibility when they focus on a particular aspect of the business instead of claiming to know it all, consultants say. “If you're trying sell them every process across the board it's not going to be very successful,” Cass says. Become an expert in something, however, and word gets around. Say, you're an axe on wealth transfers, then referrals for those cases come more regularly.

That goes for demographic specialization, too. Cass is known to be knowledgeable about the needs of health care workers, so his current clients refer their peers with similar needs to him. “It's much easier to work with a specialty. It gets to be a fairly small industry once you know a few key players,” he says of the health care industry.

On the generalist end of the spectrum, life can be tough. “It's hard being a generalist in this environment,” Gallant says. He explains that advisors who become generalists didn't take the time to step back and think about how they could effectively serve a broad group of clients. “Specialists have looked at their practice and asked ‘What do I do well, and where are the clients that prefer that and bring in revenue?’ That's where you get the idea to specialize. You have to narrow your view,” he says. But, he adds that even a specialist has to be generalist in a sense that he/she knows the basics of risk and investment management.

There are few exceptions to this world of specialized advice, and they can even be found on this year's Top 50 list. Dick Kelley, an advisor with RBC Dain Rauscher in Omaha, Neb., considers himself a generalist. (See Kelley's profile on page 66.) He has over 2,000 clients, representing about $1.2 billion in assets, and says he will not limit his business to a particular group of clients. He acknowledges that such an approach might not work for most people but that it's made him “fairly successful.”

Paul Staelin, the vice president of marketing at Success Metrics, a consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco, says, “An industry's best people will do very well in any business model. It's the average people where you see a big difference; there, you really have to know what approach you should take.” And that may explain why Kelley is one exception to the rule.

The Partner: Erik Brechnitz

Firm: Raymond James & Associates

Age: 68

Location: Decatur, Ill.

AUM: $1.2 billion

Time with Firm: 3 months

Years in the Business: 45

Business Specialty: Financial planning for HNW individuals and foundations.

The road to money-management success was nearly derailed for Erik Brechnitz in college. Enticed by the University of Missouri's strong journalism school, he asked a few visiting scribes how much a successful journalist might earn, and then majored in economics.

Brechnitz worked for Edward Jones in St. Louis, his hometown, after college. He later moved to Decatur and opened his own brokerage firm, which was bought by a predecessor of Wachovia Securities. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1994, just before finishing up a six-year term as mayor of Decatur, and this past May all six partners in The Brechnitz Group joined Raymond James & Associates.

“We're a true partnership,” says Brechnitz, who is quick to heap praise on his colleagues: “I've been blessed with incredibly energetic and bright partners.” Each member has a specialty based on his or her unique knowledge (two partners are CPAs), but more important, he says, is the team effort. “Every account has a primary contact and a secondary contact, who must conduct at least one of the quarterly reviews,” he says. The goal is collaboration on all accounts, but also to foster business continuity. To that end, partners have equity — in differing percentage amounts — in the team.

Located in the heart of the Grain Belt, Brechnitz's clients, not surprisingly, include wealthy farmers, as well as professionals, small business owners and foundations across the nation. His approach for all of them is institutional, and “has been for a long time,” he says. That means they create investment policy statements and perform thorough risk analysis and ongoing monitoring of the investments. He uses indexes in the efficient asset classes, “because those managers don't beat the benchmarks net of fees,” and seeks alpha in the less-efficient asset classes. Nine months ago The Brechnitz Group established a five-person independent board of advisors made up of local executives who are compensated with charitable donations in each board member's name. The team meets with the board quarterly for ideas on how to improve business. (For example, the board helped them understand how potentially traumatic the move to RJA could have been for some clients.)

Clients must be pleased with Brechnitz: He says he hasn't had a customer complaint in 45 years in the business. Clearly, economics was a wise choice.
John Churchill

The Traditionalist: Dick Kelley

Firm: RBC Dain Rauscher

Age: 68

Location: Omaha, Neb.

AUM: $1.233 billion

Years with the Firm: 26

Years in the Business: 38

Business Specialty: Investments, such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds

Dick Kelley is a self-proclaimed “old-fashioned stockpicker.” In fact, he got into the business after his wife continually teased, “You look like a stockbroker and you act like a stockbroker. Why not become one?” Thirty-eight years later his stockpicking approach to investing has barely changed. With over $1 billion in assets and clients who have stuck with him since his novice years, why would he change now?

Kelley wasn't an investing neophyte when he decided to join the money game full time. Since his small manufacturing business threw off enough income to support his family, he was able to invest his wife's teaching salary in the market. The thing was: He generated better returns than a friend who was a stockbroker. Not long after, he gave up his small business and took a job with the St. Louis-based regional firm G.H. Walker & Company. After its acquirer (White, Weld & Co.) was bought out by Merrill Lynch in 1978, Kelley jumped to another regional firm in an attempt to keep his practice away from a large wirehouse. And when his new firm was bought by Paine Webber a year later, Kelley was again forced to change firms, but this time it was for good. “Dain has been terrific. Even since we've been sold to RBC, the firm feels the same. I think it's just easier to talk to the home office when you're with a smaller firm,” he says.

Obviously, Kelley has an aversion to what he calls “East Coast” wirehouses. One of the things that's important to him: He has over 2,000 clients, and he says he'll never turn down an account based on its size — not something management at any wirehouse recommends these days. “I was never going to limit my business to rich people. If someone came and wanted an account, I'd open it no matter how much money they had.” (For his small clients, he uses mutual funds; for wealthy clients, he'll also add individual securities of his choosing.) He considers himself a generalist, and tries to own securities across the major economic sectors.

Kelley admits that his stockpicking, take-on-every-client approach “probably wouldn't work for a lot of people.” But, he says, “I think I'm just as good at picking stocks as those money managers,” he adds. Though the downfall, he says, is that his style is hard to teach or pass on, which worries his clients who often ask the 68-year old about his retirement. To that he says, “I don't have plans to retire. I'm going to work until the last day possible.”
Halah Touryalai

The Educator: Scott Magnesen

Firm: Morgan Stanley

Age: 47

Location: Oak Brook, Ill.

AUM: $1.3 billion

Years with Firm: 25

Years in the Business: 25

Business Specialty: Retirement planning

Scott Magnesen hates cold calling. He always has and says he always will. “I'd rather educate people than cold call them,” he says. So, in the early 1980s, Magnesen turned his back on the age-old method of asset gathering and did it his way.

Magnesen began offering seminars and workshops, teaching the basics of investing to the public. Now a commonplace — if not overused — method for prospecting, the seminars attracted hordes of potential clients who, having attended his seminar, no longer viewed Magnesen's follow-up phone call as a cold one.

His reputation grew as a reliable source, and he began getting requests from companies, like Pepsi and Sears, to offer advice to its employees. After 25 years of doing it his way, Magnesen has $1.3 billion in assets under management and over 2,000 clients. By his fifth year in the business, Magnesen had $100 million in assets and went on to receive Registered Rep.'s Outstanding Broker Award in 1989. Needless to say, things seemed to have gone OK without the cold calls.

Magnesen was taken under the wing of neighbor and branch manager, Jim Gee, of the Oak Brook office, shortly after graduating from Northwestern University. “Jim would say, ‘Do what I tell you to and don't ask any questions.’ I'd get to his office at 7 a.m. [and stay until] 9 p.m., and he'd tell me what to do from start to finish. It was Investing 101 for me,” he says.

The path he ended up on was quite different from the one he'd planned for during college. “I was a music major and wanted to become a teacher,” Magnesen says. But after training with Gee, who works in the same office, Magnesen says he realized he could become an educator of finance to his clients and that “my love of teaching could be done here.”

Magnesen also teaches a basic investing course at a local community college. Lance Walker, senior vice president of the practice, says, “He likes to get up there and teach. Scott's been teaching the college course since he got into this business.”

But his educating doesn't stop with clients and students. By 1990, his business was growing and he needed an extra hand. “I hired my 57-year-old father, a retired college professor, and put him through a lot of training,” he says. And another generation of educators is on its way to the Oak Brook office as well. Magnesen is already predicting which one of his four sons will be coming to work for him.
HT

The Longtimer: Michael Stern

Firm: Wachovia Securities

Age: 67

Location: Vineland, N.J.

AUM: $1 Billion

Years with Current Firm: 47

Years in the Business: 47

Business Specialty: Estate planning

Hanging on his office wall, Michael Stern has the scripts (IOUs) used by a number of bankrupt municipalities to pay employees during the Great Depression and copies of the bonds issued by the United Confederate States, the Republic of Texas and the Chinese Railroad. What do they have in common? They all represent financial fiascos. “It keeps me sober and reminds me how things can go wrong,” he says. And then he quotes Winston Churchill: “The further you look into the past, the further you can see into the future.”

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Stern is such a student of history. He's 67 and has been in the business for 47 years — and though he does business in 34 states, he lives and works in the same town where he was born and raised, Vineland, N.J. He started out in 1959 at Bache & Company, calling people he knew in town, and then asking them for referrals. (Bache & Company, of course, has been devoured a few times over and is now a part of Wachovia). But, he says, “I probably haven't asked for a referral in 25 years — the business just comes because of good people who are happy with me.”

Stern says that over the past 30 years his specialty has evolved into estate planning, and today he primarily serves clients who are in their 50s and 60s and have assets over $1 million. “My clients all have their likes and dislikes. They have their own idiosyncrasies, and they have specific requirements that I try to cater to,” he says. And therein lies one of the keys to his success, he says: Listening to clients and getting a good sense of who they are and what they want. “I think you've got to be sincere, articulate, persistent; you have to have a great knowledge of the subject that you're working with — and you have to listen to the client,” he says. That means also knowing when to walk away from the wrong relationships. “You can just smell it,” he says.

Stern says some of his clients are primarily interested in tax savings structures, while others are more keen on asset growth, and still others are most worried about their legacy. He has extensive knowledge of elder law, and uses various trusts (especially GRATs), asset protection trusts, family limited partnerships and gifting programs to help clients structure their estates. Stern recently saved one client about $300,000 in taxes by recommending she renounce part of her inheritance from her deceased spouse. This allowed the client to take income from the trust each year, which amounted to about $40,000, while the assets remaining in the trust at her death would be passed on to her children, or other beneficiaries, without getting hit by the estate tax.

The biggest challenges Stern faces, he says, are sorting out the messes brought to him by clients who have acted on bad advice and heirs who want to take money elsewhere in order to prove themselves after a matriarch or patriarch passes away. But these challenges aren't slowing him down. Stern doesn't plan on leaving the business any time soon. “I think there will be an announcement when I decide to leave. It will be in the obituary column,” he says with a chuckle.
Kristen French

A Fierce Competitor: Heliane Steden

Firm: Merrill Lynch

Age: 42

Location: New York

AUM: $1.1 billion

Years with the Firm: 7

Years in the Business: 12

Business Specialty: Total wealth management, derivatives, currencies

Born in Germany and reared in Mexico, it's no surprise that Heliane Steden makes her living offshore. As a financial consultant for Merrill Lynch, her book of business is comprised entirely of offshore accounts. In fact, a majority of her clients are business owners and entrepreneurs that reside in Mexico, where she still has close ties.

Steden has amassed more than $1 billion in just seven years at Merrill. She provides family-office services for a few dozen ultra-wealthy clients. Her approach to investing is to “achieve a balance, based on client needs, between wealth preservation and capital growth with a big focus on risk-adjusted returns,” she says.

Her ultra-high-net-worth business owners look to her for overall asset allocation and tactical trading ideas. She tends to stick with a product mix of about 25 percent mutual funds, 25 percent separate accounts, 40 percent fixed income and 10 percent indices. Half her business is fee-based and the other half is transactional.

Prior to joining Merrill, she worked as an investment banker at Bankers Trust. When Bankers was bought by Deutsche Bank in 1998, she headed to Merrill because of its “strong retail roots” and full-service platform. Her extensive background in investment banking and derivatives has given her an added edge over other advisors, she says. It enables her to employ active option-trading strategies and currency overlays in 80 percent of the accounts, either as a hedge or to generate alpha.

But Steden has an unusual background: She was once ranked as the No. 1 women's tennis player in Mexico. She later went on to become a three-time all-American at USC, where she played on two NCAA championship teams. After college, she spent five years on the pro tour and played against tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

“Technically, there is not a lot of difference between the top players,” Steden says. “It's so much more in the attitude and mental toughness, which is something that completely translates into business.”

Taking care of her children, however, is her biggest responsibility, she says. In July, she gave birth to a baby boy, Jack, and she also has a three-year-old daughter, Madison. Balancing work and family is not easy, but her goal “is to be successful at two careers.” It appears she is already hitting the mark.
Kevin Burke

America's Top 50 Advisors

The following rankings of financial advisors are based on a combination of objective and subjective factors, including production, assets under management and tenure at current firm. As part of our information-gathering process, we promised to hold production numbers in confidence. To provide some sense of who these top advisors are, we profiled five of them in the pages preceding this chart.

Name Firm City Estimated Total Assets in millions Years with Firm Business Description/Specialty Remarks
Mark Curtis Smith Barney Palo Alto, CA $12,000 25 Corporate services, stock plans, cash management, investment consulting, fixed income. “We are benefiting tremendously from the trend of clients who want a more comprehensive relationship.”
Paul Tramontano Smith Barney New York $6,000 15 Private wealth management. “We operate as a full family office within the firm. Our philosophy has been to be all things to some people. We help with every aspect of our client's financial lives.”
Richard Zinman Smith Barney New York $5,000 4 HNW wealth management. “Maintaining a balance between wealth preservation and capital growth is the goal. Finding both asset classes and investment-management talent is essential.”
Bill Gurtin Morgan Stanley Ranch Santa Fe, CA $5,000 7 UHNW, fixed-income management. “The Gurtin Group manages all client assets internally, as opposed to outsourcing, and we do so in large part on a discretionary basis.”
Raj Sharma Merrill Lynch Boston $3,820 19 Asset management, estate, wealth and legacy planning in a family-office structure. “We bring an institutional risk-management approach to our clients.”
Tetsu Tanimoto Merrill Lynch Los Angeles $3,500 37 Financial planning, asset allocation, rebalancing. “Our mission is to help our clients achieve their financial goals with less risk.”
Jon Goldstein Smith Barney Menlo Park, CA $3,000 12 UHNW wealth management. “We strive to be our client's primary financial advisor and offer comprehensive financial and investment management strategies.”
Ira Walker Morgan Stanley Red Bank, NJ $3,000 19 UHNW individuals. “We develop comprehensive diversification and asset-allocation strategies for our clients utilizing exchange-traded funds.”
Walter Meranze Wachovia Securities Yardley, PA $2,312 39 HNW, specialty transactions (144, 10b18 etc), and in-house portfolio management. “In a world where advisors often shop out many of their clients' tasks I built a team of experts allowing me to handle all client relationships under one roof.”
Ron Hart Smith Barney Atlanta $2,280 6 HNW individuals, corporations and foundations. “We provide investment strategies that seek to maximize the after-tax rate of return while preserving capital and providing necessary liquidity for our clients.”
Anthony Malatino Morgan Stanley Saratoga Springs, NY $2,100 19 Managed assets. “Day trading is ill-advised. Low commission rates simply mean it now costs less to engage in behavior that can be financially harmful.”
Dana Jackson Smith Barney Menlo Park, CA $2,000 13 HNW, risk management, credit and investment strategies, estate and income-tax planning. “We deliver objective investment advice using a broad approach that integrates liquidity strategies, tax and philanthropic planning and unique investment ideas.”
Nick Bapis Morgan Stanley Salt Lake City $1,900 18 HNW client service. “Our team strives to assist our clients with any financial needs or requests.”
David Hou Merrill Lynch Century City, CA $1,894 13 UHNW. N/A
Mark Sear Merrill Lynch Century City, CA $1,898 13 Asset allocation, structured derivatives. “We're all about customization, access and service. We serve only $10 million-plus households and we want to give them best in class.”
John Fitzpatrick UBS New York $1,637 2 UHNW families. “As the client's advocate we strive to understand the client's needs and objectives and customize an ongoing solution that is unique for each of them.”
Tim Cass Morgan Stanley Monterrey, CA $1,610 21 HNW, healthcare industry. “In 2005, I was recognized as one of the “Top 50 Advisors” by Registered Rep. In January 2006 I was noted in Research Magazine as one of the ‘Top-Ranked Advisors in America’.”
Mark Hutchinson Smith Barney Chicago $1,600 6 Equity portfolio management. “Our goal is to be the trusted advisor to clients and their families focusing on all of their total wealth issues, which includes risk and portfolio management.”
Patrick Dwyer Merrill Lynch Miami $1,600 13 UHNW, investment consulting, restricted stock. “We provide independent investment-management consulting, private banking and lending services and concentrated stock and risk-management strategies.”
John Rafal Essex Financial Services Essex, CT $1,600 17 Comprehensive financial planning, managed money, trusts, pensions, 401(k)s. “We are a high-net-worth practice based on three core principals: Service, independence and knowledge.”
Jerome Klein Merrill Lynch Century City, CA $1,589 11 N/A N/A
Alan Yarkin Smith Barney Hallandale, FL $1,516 28 Private wealth management for HNW individuals and families. “Modern portfolio theory and asset allocation provide the foundation for the structuring of our clients' portfolios and each is uniquely tailored based on the client's return objective and risk tolerance.”
Tom Phillips Merrill Lynch White Plains, NY $1,500 23 Multi-generation family planning. “Service sets us apart.”
Ron Carson LPL Omaha, NE $1,400 16 Wealth, trust services, tax, estate, risk-management and small business planning. “Ron is one of America's most recognized and honored wealth advisors, familiar to viewers of CNBC, Fox News Network and KMTV in Omaha.”
Frank Fenton Smith Barney Beverly Hills, CA $1,400 16 Wealth management with financial planning and portfolio management. “Meeting each client's objectives is our primary goal, whether it's capital preservation or above-average market returns, or a combination of both.”
Mark Birringer Merrill Lynch Chicago $1,380 12 HNW, concentrated stock solutions. “Our message is one of wealth preservation. We have found for our clients the important experience is not taking the big loss.”
Bruce Pomerantz Wachovia Securities Short Hills, NJ $1,369 8 HNW clients. “My team and I are dedicated to achieving client satisfaction in both portfolio performance and client service.”
Shane Brisbin Smith Barney San Francisco $1,350 4 HNW private wealth management “Our clients benefit from the scale and expertise of Citigroup's global platform. We leverage this platform to deliver comprehensive wealth-management solutions and high-quality service.”
Sanford Katz UBS San Francisco $1,300 4 UHNW, HNW. “We help clients achieve a risk-balanced plan that best suits their long-term financial goals, which we then implement using a variety of external and internal products and managers.”
Steve Hefter Morgan Stanley Riverwoods, IL $1,300 7 HNW. “In part, our success can be attributed to our ability to find the regions and sectors around the globe that have the best risk-reward opportunities.”
Scott Magnesen Morgan Stanley Oak Brook, IL $1,300 25 Retirement specialist. “An educated client will be your best client.”
Phil Scott Merrill Lynch Bellevue, WA $1,300 20 HNW. “We focus on helping people generate reliable, safe income streams that grow significantly over time.”
Dick Kelley RBC Dain Rauscher Omaha, NE $1,233 26 Full-service broker. stocks, bonds, mutual funds. “I lead a highly experienced support team to work with clients and develop strategies and recommend personalized solutions to help accumulate protect”
Michael Swenson Merrill Lynch Wayzata, MN $1,200 17 HNW families, executives, small businesses. “The Swenson Financial Advisory Group is a corporate & family advisory group that helps companies and affluent families protect wealth and financial security.”
Erik Brechnitz Raymond James and Associates Decatur, IL $1,200 Since May 06 HNW, foundations, defined-benefit pension plans. “Our philosophy is to ensure that our clients never assume more risk than is necessary.”
Alan Zafran Merrill Lynch Menlo Park, CA $1,100 14 N/A “Providing access to world-class money managers with an overlay of tax and financial planning.”
Heliane Steden Merrill Lynch New York $1,100 6 UHNW clients, family office-type services. “We deal with a select number of ultra-high-net-worth families offshore, providing private banking services, strategic asset allocation, tactical trading strategies and family-office services.”
Jeff Gerson Smith Barney New York $1,100 20 Private wealth management and planning and asset management for individuals. “I believe that when managing a client's portfolio, I should take the least amount of risk necessary to attain the client's agreed upon goals.”
Alan Whitman Morgan Stanley Pasadena, CA $1,100 35 HNW, UHNW individuals. “We build long-term relationships based on trust, exceptional service and sound investment strategies.”
Michael Stern Wachovia Securities Vineland, NJ $1,000 47 Estate planning. “Estate planning is complicated and proper management of wealth requires liquidity and intelligence, integrity and patience.”
Chris Errico Morgan Stanley New York $1,000 7 Equity, high-yield fixed income, UHNW. “I'm constantly searching for value in all asset classes and committed to providing my clients with a customized plan to meet their needs.”
Larry Palmer Smith Barney Los Angeles $1,000 12 Private wealth management for corporate executives. “Our team helps officers, directors and founders of companies create liquidity and preserve and grow their capital.”
William Einstein UBS New York $987 11 HNW, municipal bonds. “I focus on the goals of my clients and develop strategies accordingly. I emphasize conservative, high-quality fixed-income portfolios.”
Harold Trischman Smith Barney Greenwich, CT $940 22 Diversified income and managed growth accounts. “Detailed review process for managed accounts.”
William Easom Smith Barney Chicago $929 18 Retirement planning. “Quality, process-driven practice”
Tom Gau Oregon Pacific Financial Advisors Ashland, OR $905 10 Financial planning, including tax and estate planning, wealth-transfer strategies. “We prepare consolidated asset allocation for all clients with updated reports determining if their current mix of assets is appropriate for their current situation.”
Maha Matta Smith Barney San Francisco $900 3 HNW, municipal bonds. “Our emphasis is to work with our HNW clients to develop financial plans to help diversify their holdings, facilitate estate plans and achieve their financial goals.”
Michael E. Dowell Smith Barney Jackson, MS $900 18 HNW individuals, fixed income, estate planning and executive financial services “While I do not profess to be all things financial to all people, I do claim a broad array of expertise via my team and gatekeeper to the experts on all else.”
Richard Camp Smith Barney St. Louis, MS $900 23 Foundations, endowments, defined-benefit plans. “We are very long-term equity investors and use bonds to reduce volatility”
Gregory S. Hurlbrink Smith Barney Baltimore, MD $866 20 HNW comprehensive wealth management, investment consulting. “We are a multi-disciplined team offering comprehensive wealth management to high net worth families, in true open architecture investment consulting to small institutions.”