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$4.8M adviser grows by targeting 4 generations of clients

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This profile appeared earlier this year as part of On Wall Street's Top 40 Under 40. All details are as of Sept. 31, 2016. To see who else made the top 10, please click here.

While some advisers might be striving to win their clients' kids over as new clients, it's not unusual for HighTower adviser Bob White to work with four generations of a single family. In fact, his team is tailored for it.
"At least 50% of our assets are three generations or more," he says. "It's more of an oddity to have a single person or a couple."

White, who ranked no. 5 with $5.418 million in production on On Wall Street’s Top 40 Under 40 ranking, says his niche is beneficial to developing strategy. "You know the different levels of wealth. It's also much more personally rewarding," says White, whose group includes seven team members.

The smallest families they serve tend to have around eight members; the largest have upwards of two dozen, he says.

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The practice is almost entirely referral-based, and new clients are asked to provide a lot of personal information in a confidential manner. White says it's "labor intensive," but critical for their clients' success.

"We are able to give better advice the more we have at our disposable. If someone isn't comfortable giving us information, it's probably not the right relationship and we'll express that," the Manhattan-based adviser says.

There can be hurdles to working with multiple family members. If just one is dissatisfied, it can "rock the whole boat," says White, who started at his career at UBS before transitioning with his team to HighTower in 2010.

"Family dynamics are interesting and nuanced and they are all different," White says. "But that challenge is also what makes it interesting because you are truly acting as a fiduciary to that specific person and that specific family. There's no rule of thumb that applies to every family."

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