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No. 20: Joshua Carter

Firm: Merrill Lynch

Location: San Francisco, CA

Production: $3.42 million

AUM: $747.06 million

Age: 38

A self-described "transplant to the wealth management industry," Joshua Carter is steering his practice toward an underserved segment of clients.

Carter, who joined Merrill in January 2009, is helping lead his group's expansion into the institutional market, handling investments for organizations like nonprofits, endowments and defined-benefit plans. Currently, about 40% of his clients are institutions. It’s a segment that is growing and has become Carter's primary area of focus.

"We fall into the category of really pursuing the ultra-high net worth client as well as institutions that look and feel a lot like ultra-high net worth clients in terms of their asset size," Carter says. "It's a relatively small, concentrated book of clients."

But an endowment of $100 million to $200 million might be too small to attract the attention of the large institutional consultancies that often cater to clients with assets in the billions. Some of those institutional clients, Carter says, are "looking for an outsourced CIO" in their financial advisor.

Carter cut his teeth at Goldman Sachs, beginning as a sell-side research analyst before moving to the proprietary trading desk, where he enjoyed considerable success. But as he emerged from the tumultuous period of 2007 and 2008, Carter concluded that he wanted to move from proprietary trading to a field where he could take "a longer-term approach to investment management and relationships."

"What I think really differentiates our approach is just the care and the focus that we're able to give to each individual client, really because we have a small number of clients," Carter says. "It's really sort of an intimate service model."