Advisor

Cooper O'Connor

It’s an Honor to Step into a Client’s World

We’re all building a unique entity in this world, be it a business, philanthropic endeavor or a creative vision. There’s no greater reward than being a part of that process, and a client’s world, by creating success for them—as they define it.

What inspired you to join Bernstein?

The people. Having the extraordinary opportunity to work alongside brilliant, thoughtful and incredibly driven people is a privilege. It’s also one that I don’t take for granted. John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success has been ingrained in me since my time doing undergraduate and graduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and playing on the men’s volleyball team there. Specifically, the cornerstones of his pyramid, which are industriousness and enthusiasm, are two qualities that I believe the people at Bernstein embody every single day. As it relates to industriousness, I am constantly in awe of the work ethic and relentless pursuit of innovation that my colleagues across the firm demonstrate. Similarly, the enthusiasm that radiates throughout all levels of the firm, from people who truly enjoy what they are doing, is contagious. There is an immense level of peace that comes from knowing colleagues have my best interests in mind and strive to create mutual success.

What has inspired you to stay at Bernstein for as long as you have?

There is incredible energy and a sense of mystery around successful entrepreneurs. Plain and simple, it's super fun to have the opportunity to partner with them, learn about their unique career backgrounds and talents and provide them with peace of mind pertaining to their financial future. Fortunately, I have enough self-awareness to know that I’m unlikely to think up the next billion-dollar business idea or technology app. Yet, I do know what I’m uniquely qualified for: translating a client’s entrepreneurial success into a long-lasting family legacy, and financially supporting the causes that are dear to them. I think about the highly personalized work we do for each client as building a new joint venture or business together. My goal is to partner together, as client and advisor, to maximize the value of this new business by identifying what success looks like for the business, and how that intersects with what’s within our control.

If you didn’t work for Bernstein, what else would you be doing?

Actually, I’m not supposed to work in finance at all. I don’t come from a family whose dinner table conversations revolved around the capital markets or what happened with the stock market that day. Both of my parents worked in education for a combined 80+ years so it would have been more natural for me to follow their lead into teaching high school or at the university level. Education is in my DNA, however, rather than go down the same route as my family, I’ve relished the opportunity to be an educator to my clients. I love educating clients and their families about all of the nuances pertaining to their financial plan—whether it’s utilizing our firm’s unique research to guide a client through complex wealth transfer strategies or helping a client understand the fundamentals of stocks and bonds, I take great pride in the mutual level of trust that educating clients brings. In the end, even though it was in a different industry, I became a teacher and take great pride in it.

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