What has inspired you to stay at Bernstein for as long as you have?
I joined Bernstein in 1987 as an advisor, at the age of 25. I came from the Securities Industry Tax practice at a large global CPA firm. While I’ve held several managerial positions in my 33 years at the firm, including Senior Managing Director at our New York City private client practice, what I’ve loved from the start is advising clients. While advising clients and customizing information to fit their specific and unique circumstances, I’ve been fortunate to forge decades-long relationships with many families and organizations. It is those connections that mean the most.
As the private client assets Bernstein manages grew in size by about 100-fold since I joined the firm, our investment offerings and breadth and depth of expertise grew accordingly. However, while Bernstein is constantly evolving, one thing has remained the same: an unwavering business ethic that puts our clients’ interests first in terms of everything that we do for them. It’s that ethos that keeps me at Bernstein.
What’s the best way for people to put their wealth in perspective?
Wealth is a means toward an end, not an end in and of itself. Therefore, it requires careful thought and planning.
An important first step is to provide a sense of security that matches the individuality of the client. Next, most clients want to measure what degree of “surplus capital” they have beyond this lifetime. Ultimately, there are only three places that surplus capital goes: gifting or bequeathing it to loved ones, donating it to charitable causes or paying it toward estate taxes.
One of my key roles as an advisor is to help clients quantify their core capital requirements. We do this so they can provide for their own spending needs over a lifetime. Once that is determined, we can focus on planning for family and/or charitable gifting and estate planning, in conjunction with their tax and legal advisers. By using Bernstein’s wealth planning resources and expertise, such as our state-of-the-art quantitative modeling tools, I can best advise my clients.
What differentiates you from other advisors?
A significant advantage that I bring to the table is the length and range of experience I have cultivated over time. In my 33 years at Bernstein, I’ve worked with many types of clients ranging from high-net-worth families to large foundations and endowment funds, and other institutional investors.
My experience created a keen understanding of global capital markets and the related trade-off between risk and return over varying time horizons. That wealth of knowledge, coupled with a deep expertise in tax and financial planning issues, is how I provide a differentiated and advantageous level of service to my clients.