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With 4 pieces of tech, Top 40 advisor is ‘comfortable just about anywhere’

In a year of marked volatility in equities, advisor Seth Haye doubled his efforts to ensure clients “received more phone calls from me than ever before,” he tells On Wall Street.

The Morgan Stanley advisor, who ranked No. 8 on our Top 40 Under 40 list, shares this and other details about his work ethic, including why he thinks accountability is a beautiful thing and what the best 15 minutes of his week are.

Read on to learn more about Haye.

Seth Haye Morgan Stanley advisor 2019 photo

Finalists for the Top 40 Under 40 were to be no older than 39 as of Dec. 31, 2018. They also had to be registered with a firm in the employee channel. Nominees’ information was confirmed with their employers. Production totals were used to determine the rankings. Production and AUM figures are as of Sept. 30, 2018.

How would you describe your practice?

We have a relationship-based, holistic wealth management practice. We’re like a CFO for high-net-worth families, and a pseudo-member of the family. Most days my client conversations range from discussing stocks/bonds/alternative investments to retirement and charitable planning, real estate, taxes and family issues. Many of my most important conversations are based around how a family can use their wealth to design their ideal life.

What was your biggest work accomplishment in 2018, and was there something that nearly kept you from achieving it?

A key accomplishment for me was keeping close contact with my clients throughout the year. We all know 2018 was the most volatile year we’ve had in some time. As a result, clients needed more communication and attention than usual. It was also a year in which many new clients were referred to us, we hired and trained new key team members, and we also made systematic changes within our practice. It would have been easy and natural for many of these good things to reduce my communication level with clients but I worked very hard to make sure clients received more phone calls from me than ever before.

The advisors at the top of the ranking generated more than $59 million in combined annual revenue.
February 4

What was your biggest personal accomplishment in 2018?

Without a doubt, my biggest personal accomplishment in 2018 was breaking away from the business for a couple weeks in July and traveling with my wife and children to Europe. My wife Jolyn and I attended Pepperdine University and studied abroad in Florence Italy during our sophomore year of college. I proposed to Jolyn on Valentine’s Day on top of a castle overlooking the Italian Riviera in Vernazza during our year abroad in college. It was a dream come true for us to take our kids to Europe for the first time this summer and walk them down our memory lane, tour them around the same Pepperdine Villa where we once lived and studied, eat pizza and gelato at the same places we used to frequent 20 years ago, and even introduce our children to old friends from the college days who are still living in Florence. I never would have been able to enjoy this experience with my family if not for the amazing team at the office to take the reins while I was away.

Describe the best 15 minutes of your work week.

The best 15-minute slot of my work week is typically the quiet time I have early in the morning to map out my game plan of what is most important for me to accomplish each week.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Currently, the toughest part is balance. I am a people pleaser and I absolutely love taking care of my clients. I also love helping to grow the business, aspiring to reach my potential in this industry, making a difference in the community, and spending time with my family. Finding a way to allocate the appropriate time to each of these endeavors can be challenging for me. In the past few years I’ve aligned myself with a few great coaches and mentors who’ve helped with these challenges.

What makes you stand out as an advisor?

I’m probably not the best person to answer this question, but I’d like to think that what makes me unique is a combination of integrity, work ethic, discipline, wisdom and the level of which I personally care about my clients. When I entered this industry in 2004, I committed to treating every client as though my only expectation is for us to work together for several decades. I believe this approach results in the client knowing that you are in it for the long run and that you have their best interests in mind at all times.

What do you think people often misunderstand about the work advisors do?

I think there are many people that don’t fully understand the stress level and work load of being a financial advisor in today’s world. Also, given the growing regulation and oversight in our industry, very few individuals are aware of how much work goes on behind the scenes in order for us to be able to serve our clients. This is especially true for our operational/administrative team members.

If you could get Americans to change one financial habit this year, what would it be?

This one is easy: I’d encourage Americans to do a better job living beneath their means and allocate more money each year towards charitable/philanthropic causes.

What advice do you give to new FAs?

The advice I am currently giving new advisors is to partner with a great team and have a long-term approach for all key decision-making. Also, I tell new advisors to think of their practice as a start-up company. For the first five to seven years they are going to need to make sacrifices and put in far more than they get out. However, the sacrifice they make up front will likely be rewarded longer term.

What trends are you watching in 2019?

There are several trends across many spectrums that I am following this year; some of them include geopolitical relationships, how AI and robotics may impact employment in the future, energy, healthcare, and trends pertaining to millennials.

What technology can you not live without?

The technology I depend on most heavily is access to work email, good cell reception, voice texting, and Google Waze. If I have these four items, I’m comfortable just about anywhere.

Who is your personal hero?

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded by wonderful mentors, teachers, and personal heroes. Each of them are men and women who worked daily to reach their potential in all areas of life; they have been extremely intentional about their life. They achieved great business success while being guided daily by their personal faith, treated everyone around them with love and respect, and have worked their entire lives to be the best spouse, parent, grandparent, and mentor they could possibly be. A few of my personal heroes have now passed away and although they weren’t perfect human beings, they certainly raised the bar and showed me, through their actions, how to be better in many areas of life.

What is your morning beverage of choice?

My protein shake, which I usually enjoy daily around 5 a.m.

What goal, professional or personal, do you most want to achieve in 2019?

Over the past several years we have invested in people and resources to do a better job for clients than ever before. I believe that in 2018 we did a better all-around job for our clients than ever before in our team’s 50 year history. There are many facets to the client experience and I owe much of this success to each of my team members. For 2019, I want our client experience to be the best ever, and I also would like to continue to grow our business, and to spend more time with my wife and children in 2019 than 2018. I am big on measurements, so I am working on systems to quantify the success level for each of these goals. Regarding my family goal, I’ve asked my wife and kids to give me honest feedback on 12/31/19 and let me know if they feel like we had more time together in 2019 than in 2018.

Accountability is a beautiful thing.

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