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What this $4.2M Merrill advisor learned from his first sales job

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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, 2017. To see who else made the top 10, please click here.

For advisor Umesh Trikha, working with people is something he's enjoyed since he landed his first job selling printer cartridges in London at age 16.

"It was a true sales job. You were earning 10 pounds a cartridge. But the lessons it taught me were talking to people and making connections," says Trikha, who ranked No. 10 on On Wall Street's Top 40 Under 40. Trikha generated $4.2 million in annual production.

He carried that knowledge with him when he became an intern at Merrill Lynch in Williamsburg, Virginia. And, ultimately, into his career as a New York-based financial advisor.

"You guide clients on all aspects of their financial affairs, and it's a great feeling when you can help facilitate reaching their aspirations. There is also a lot of humility to the fact that they are trusting you with their wealth," he says.

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Trikha, a British native, became an international financial advisor at the firm in 2003. He studied economics at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, opting for what he saw as the greater flexibility of U.S. universities over their U.K. counterparts.

He credits his success to his mentor and former business partner, Sanjay Patel, who now serves as a Merrill Lynch market executive in New York.

Today, his four-member team in New York serves primarily international clients, but also U.S. ones, many of whom are executives. He says U.S. clients tend to require more tax optimization and estate planning.

"There are more bells and whistles that they may need versus an international client who may only be giving you a portion of their wealth," he says.

Wealth management is of course a competitive field and it's important to "stay curious," Trikha says. He is an avid reader, sometimes devouring three books a week. (He recommends historian Walter Isaacson's 2017 biography of Leonardo da Vinci.)

"I think the biggest competition you have when you come to work is yourself, whether it's day one or day 1,000," he says.

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