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No. 1 advisor on Top 40 Under 40 shares what trends he’s watching now

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To keen observers of On Wall Street’s Top 40 Advisors Under 40, it should come as little surprise that Merrill Lynch’s Dane Runia came in at No. 1 — again.

The Merrill Lynch advisor, 36, has finished in the top spot for three years running.

The Provo, Utah-based advisor credits Merrill Lynch’s research team and a steady diet of news with helping him stay ahead of the curve (his subscriptions include the Wall Street Journal).

That and a lot of hard work helped Runia’s team notch “one of our largest-ever increases in net new assets from new and existing clients,” he says of 2019.

“To us, this was validation from our clients that they trust us to manage their hard-earned wealth,” says Runia, who caters to ultrawealthy clients.

Runia has been with Merrill Lynch since 2006. (His father is a life-long Merrill Lynch advisor.) Last year, Runia reported $11,312,815 in production and $2.69 billion in assets under management.

Read on to learn more about how he keeps current with trends in wealth management and what he admires in his teammates.

Click here to see who else made this year’s Top 40 Advisors Under 40.

What type of clients do you serve — and how do you meet new ones?

We serve clients in the ultrahigh-net-worth space. Our clientele includes business owners, entrepreneurs, senior executives, professional athletes, and institutions. Due to the great client relationships we have developed and premium service we offer, many of our new clients come to us through referrals from existing clients who enjoy working with our team.

Have you ever turned away a client for being a bad fit for your practice?

Our team looks for relationships that are mutually beneficial for both our team as well as the client, and upholding that standard. Thankfully, it is quite rare that we have to.

What was your biggest work accomplishment in 2019, and was there something that nearly kept you from achieving it?

The biggest accomplishment for our team in 2019 was achieving one of our largest ever increases in net new assets from new and existing clients. To us, this was validation from our clients that they trust us to manage their hard-earned wealth.

What was your biggest personal accomplishment in 2019?

I focused on a work/life balance that allowed me to grow the business but also spend quality time with my wife and our four children. As a family we had a great year together attending sports games, dance performances, and piano recitals.

These advisors oversaw $26 billion in combined client assets.
January 23

How do you keep abreast of changes in wealth management?

I read from a variety of sources to make sure I have current knowledge not only of the market in general but also familiarity with what is happening within the wealth management industry. To that end, we are fortunate that Bank of America Merrill Lynch has great research and investment teams that give frequent updates on both the market as well as the industry. In addition, I subscribe to several large newspaper publications and industry news sources that also keep me up-to-date, specifically the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Bloomberg, and Forbes.

What trends are you watching in 2020?

We keep a close eye on the Fed. Equities have benefited from the Fed’s balance sheet expansion, but at some point corporate earnings and productivity growth will need to accelerate for equities to climb higher. Lastly, we are watching interest rates closely, especially U.S. fixed income rates as they are influenced by the large amount of bonds globally that have negative yields.

What qualities do you admire in your team members?

Each member of our team is self-motivated and has distinct talents and competencies that I admire. There are team members who excel in exceeding expectations in servicing clients while other team members are very efficient in completing the necessary paperwork, transactions, and coordination to help our business run smoothly. The unique attributes across our team are complementary to one another and have really propelled our team towards overall success.

What was the last good book you read?

“Atomic Habits” by James Clear.

What TV show are you currently streaming?

Mostly sports. I don’t watch many TV shows.

What goal, professional or personal, do you want to achieve in 2020?

I have a goal of exercising four to five a week in 2020.

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