What inspired you to come to Bernstein---and stay at Bernstein as long as you have?
When I was first approached by Bernstein over 20 years ago, I was a partner in one of the top law firms in San Francisco. I loved the intellectual challenge of helping clients navigate complex legal matters. That said, the profession’s focus on maximizing billable hours meant that the price of success was watching my wife and kids sleep. My family is the center of my universe, so that was not a cost I was willing to bear. The pivot to wealth management was perfect because the profession rewards outcomes. Moreover, I was able to leverage my legal background into a very successful practice because the advisor role at Bernstein uniquely centered around collaboration with clients’ other professionals, such as accountants, estate planners, transactional attorneys and investment bankers.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of being an advisor to your clients?
My definition of nirvana is becoming my clients’ most trusted advisor on issues beyond simply managing their investment portfolio. With significant wealth often comes significant stress and complexity, not only in terms of the assets on your balance sheet, but also in terms of the relationships with the people you care about. When my clients call me to discuss these softer issues, I know that I have crossed the Rubicon into their inner circle. Said another way, I define my success as an advisor as more than simply making money for my clients. My goal is to make their money truly meaningful to the quality of their lives.
What passions do you pursue outside of your family and work?
Mentoring young people is the most important passion I have outside of my family and work. A spark was ignited to become a mentor when I had kids and began coaching their youth sports. I strongly believe that playing competitive team sports teaches children important life lessons. The primary lesson that it taught my own kids was how to respond to and overcome failure. As my children grew up, I became actively involved with San Francisco Achievers, a nonprofit that mentors and provides college scholarships to African American boys in San Francisco public schools. I’ve also leveraged my career in finance to act as a guest lecturer at my alma mater, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Benjamin Graham Value Investing Program, which is part of the College of Social Sciences and Economics.