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No. 30: Peter Strope

Firm: UBS

Location: Pittsburg, PA

Production: $3.017 million

AUM: $469.81 million

Age: 37

Peter Strope freely admits that he didn’t know a stock from a bond for the first two decades of his life. A nursing student, he made his first equity purchase shortly after graduation on a rumor that a $2 stock was about to go to $10. Within three days, that company filed for bankruptcy, and 22-year-old Strope had lost his savings.

“It was the best $500 I ever lost,” he recalls, because the process of buying the stock put him in touch with his local PaineWebber office, which happened to be hiring. After completing PaineWebber’s training program, and later partnering with an experienced advisor, Strope found he had a talent for expanding relationships with relatively small clients. Within that first partnership, for example, he helped to more than double assets under management and more than quadruple revenues.

Now, Strope is focused on growing his business through acquisition. “I see other advisors who are struggling but don’t have a process for growing their businesses. They don’t ask the right questions or track the right metrics,” he observes. “These are things I have a process for.” He has completed four acquisitions (often retaining the primary advisor), with a goal of tucking in two or three more before he retires. His team currently has AUM of $750m.

Expanding existing relationships is still important, of course. One of Strope’s regular requests to clients is the chance to review their estate planning documents. In most cases, that turns up plenty of follow-up items, and cements the clients’ trust in him. “Many financial advisors take it for granted that a $10 million client has their estate plan in order,” says Strope,”but based on what I’ve seen, I don’t buy that anymore.”