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Why this $4.9M Morgan Stanley advisor turns down some clients

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What advice does Morgan Stanley advisor Mihir Patel give to new FAs? Join a team.

“Ask yourself what’s the talent set you are bringing to the business and find a team that needs help in that area,” says Patel, who ranked No. 6 on this year’s Top 40 Under 40 list.

It’s advice Patel follows. His biggest work accomplishment last year was evolving out of his traditional role of being a one-stop shop and having team members take on more day-to-day responsibilities, he says.

He shared these and other insights about his work regimen with On Wall Street, which is taking a closer look at the advisors who rose to the upper echelon of the Top 40 Under 40. Patel and other advisors provided an insider’s look at their motivations and challenges as well as the wealth management trends they’re currently keeping tabs on.

Read on to learn more about Patel’s pursuit of a team-based philosophy and why he turns down some clients.

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?

Our team — the PKB Insight Group — provides sophisticated solutions to a select group of ultrahigh-net-worth clients and to small- and medium-sized institutions, private equity firms, hedge funds and their principals and employees. We believe that one size never fits all, one meeting never suffices and no one wealth manager is right for everyone. Our clients face complex challenges on both sides of their balance sheets. By combining our experience with the vast global resources of Morgan Stanley, we are able to deliver a broad range of innovative solutions to clients.

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

Transitioning my role as a “one-man shop” to allow the rest of the team to take over a lot of the day-to-day duties. That enabled me to focus on client acquisition and investment management responsibilities. Allowing my team of junior advisors and client service associates to take over a large portion of the business operations has enabled us to grow and the team to be much more efficient. So I guess the biggest accomplishment was me not being a control freak!

What was your biggest personal accomplishment in 2018?

My wife and I have been trying to work with and figure out a great way to give back to our respective alma maters via scholarships for young adults who would normally not be able to attend the universities. We finally established a Mihir and Kristy Patel Scholarship Fund at our respective alma maters for the less fortunate. We truly paid our own way through school, and are lucky to be in the position we are in today, and wanted to give back as much as possible in the most evident way as possible: providing higher education to people who truly deserve it.

Describe the best 15 minutes of your work week.

I do a weekly prospect and lead list meeting with the partners, junior associates and client service associates. It’s not only fun to tell them about the prospective clients I am working on, but also to hear from them how they have taken someone from prospect to fully engaged client using one succinct and service-oriented model. It’s growth, efficiency and client service coming together in one meeting.

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

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Our team has a specific focus on finding the right client that best suits our investment philosophy, and clients obviously are screening for what suits them best. The toughest part of the job currently is turning down clients that aren’t the best fit for our model of investment management.

What makes you stand out as an advisor?

I believe that being true asset managers rather than just asset gatherers is what differentiates me and my team. We actually own our investment ideas and philosophy rather than farming them out to a third-party manager.

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

People often see financial advisors as working strictly with individuals. We deliver institutional-style investment management to a broad range of clients.

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

Being underinvested or not invested! Year-end 2018 brought back the 2008-09 fear of “what could happen.” I think there has been a generational shift of mentality from the great financial crisis to now, and some people believe that no one can lose that type of money again. This directs people to be all in or all out. That’s wrong. Just take the time to consult with an advisor and listen.

What advice do you give to new FAs?

Find a team that could use your strengths. I do not believe that a sole proprietor has any chance of being successful in the current financial advisory role. You need a team of dedicated professionals to handle all product classes and also generational coverage. Ask yourself what’s the talent set you are bringing to the business and find a team that needs help in that area.

What trends are you watching in 2019?

Emerging market trends, e.g., the amazing growth story in India; technology disruptors like self-driving cars that would eliminate over 4,000 car-crash deaths a year; and differentiated investment ideas that focus on stable income and growth.

What technology can you not live without?

I know there are perils to always being connected, but I don’t see my clients having constant contact with me as work. It’s the norm. So the MobileIron email contact and remote access is the technology I cannot live without. The old-school mentality of having to sit in an office to manage a book of clients or a team is very outdated.

Who is your personal hero?

It’s a client who will go unnamed but who is known as the “nicest guy on Wall Street.” Not only is he a true visionary and entrepreneur, but his success is directly tied to his reputation as a constantly nice person. The success he has achieved with humility and kindness is what I look to achieve every day.

What is your morning beverage of choice?

Mint tea every morning. Calms the nerves in between a workout and starting the day.

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

Personal: Be the best husband and hopefully father to the new addition to the family. Also, my wife and I are getting a new puppy and I’m very excited for all the new additions to the family.

Professional: Grow the team’s revenue and asset base with integrity and allow my fellow team members to far exceed their professional goals, both monetarily and philosophically.

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