Germaine Harris

No Surprises Here

I’ve filled my life with the constant study of financial markets and service on various boards. My other passions include helping my fellow humans and building genuine relationships, which is why it makes perfect sense that I chose this career path.

What inspired you to join Bernstein?

I’ve spent my entire career working with investments and never, in all of my experiences, came across a firm as unique as Bernstein. As a financial advisor, my goal was to be a fiduciary—someone who places the best interest of clients first, and to work with a firm whose mission was to manage money differently. Bernstein’s integrated approach to money management, where each piece of a portfolio is assembled like a puzzle and monitored and managed for optimal tax efficiency, risk management and diversification, stood out. The money management model that Bernstein created is also crafted to entirely benefit clients, which was very attractive to me. Last but not least, the wonderful people at Bernstein and our firm’s actions to encourage diversity, equity, inclusion and personal philanthropy, are why I stayed. Bernstein wants to become a better corporate citizen. This heightened my certainty that it was the right organization for me.

What differentiates you from other advisors?

I’ve been in financial services for twenty-plus years. These decades of experience included three recessions and the longest bull market in history, which has shaped my view of financial services. The wisdom and unique perspective that I bring to the table from seeing so many industry ups and downs is why my clients, who have historically been other advisors or institutions, seek my advice. Additionally, and unfortunately, I’ve also witnessed the spiral that can occur from leaving small financial details unattended. Seeing the dramatic results from detrimental financial decisions, and the chaos they can cause within a family, was hard but character-forming. Both the successes and challenges of my life have given me a tremendous capacity for empathy. I feel for all that my clients experience and simply want to help them.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My parents, both of whom came from the South and were children of sharecroppers, were the most influential people in my life. They stressed the importance of education, and both, in spite of their circumstances, completed their master’s degrees. I learned about investing and acquired an interest in the stock market from my mother. I fondly recall sitting with her at the dinner table as a child and reading through stock quotes. The numbers changing daily was fascinating to me, and I immediately wanted to know more. I always knew that when I grew up, I’d become involved in the markets. My father taught me the value of humility and giving back. He worked tirelessly for our church and many of our Thanksgivings were spent with strangers in need. I still recall selling our family car for $1 to another family who needed transportation for their children and a way to work. Unfortunately, I lost my parents at a young age—but the lessons they taught have stayed with me a lifetime.

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