Managing Director

James Murphy

Advisor Headshot

Builder and Creator, in Awe of the Arts and Nature

I’ve loved building businesses from South America to Fairfield County. Building a successful business takes being tuned in to the present while also having a vision of the future. This also leads to my deep appreciation of the arts and nature.

What inspired you to join Bernstein?

I’ve been in this industry for a long time. A lot has changed over the years, but one thing has remained constant: advisors always seem to say that they act in the best interests of their clients. The problem is that the industry is generally structured to do the opposite. Fee and compensation systems are often designed to incentivize product sales rather than good advice.

Bernstein does things differently. We do not just talk about doing what is best for our clients. Doing so is actually institutionalized in our incentive system. Our team earns more if we work together to deliver great client outcomes. We earn less if we don’t. It’s that simple. Like many places, we have good, smart, well-intentioned people. The striking difference is that our firm is structured in a way that equates collaboration and positive client outcomes with success. And that’s why I am with Bernstein.

What’s the best way for people to put their wealth in perspective?

A simple, yet often challenging, question to answer about wealth is: What’s the point?

The natural reaction often is to provide a superficial answer: to make more money, or…to earn the highest return with the least amount of risk. Ok, but why? Knowing “why” often requires a journey of deep discovery. Many clients haven’t thought much about what’s truly important to them. A big part of our job at Bernstein is to help clients along this journey. Do you want to be sure that you never have to worry about money? Or to know exactly how generous you can afford to be toward friends and loved ones? For others, wealth is about having a positive impact on the world. There are as many reasons for having wealth as there are people in the world. That’s why exploring what deeply matters to each client is so important. And it is how we help clients put their wealth in perspective.

What passions do you pursue outside of work?

My parents were in show business, so they were concerned about how I would ever make a living outside the entertainment industry! That love of the arts, particularly the performing arts, lives in me today. Due to my extremely limited musical talent, my efforts are mostly spent appreciating and supporting the arts in Westchester County and Connecticut.

Another passion is nature, particularly the Long Island Sound. I was born in New York City but spent most of my years growing up in Westchester County, living and playing on its shores. I find the Sound to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Seeing its ever-changing landscape at different times of the day is still awe-inspiring, every single time.

All of us at Bernstein are fortunate to be with a firm that encourages us to pursue our passions. After all, if we don’t know how to pursue our own passions, then how can we help our clients pursue theirs?