From the January 2017 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

Advisors Giving Back: Adam Carlin of Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley advisor and managing director Adam Carlin is part of a 13-person practice in Coral Gables, Florida, with about $2 billion in assets — the Bermont/Carlin Group. He’s been with Morgan Stanley (and Smith Barney) for over 20 years.

While Carlin isn’t exactly sure about his retirement timetable as an advisor, he plans to continue his philanthropic focus for many years to come. He and his wife Chanin sponsor a prom for kids receiving care at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami and a week of holiday activities at NewYork Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Also, he and his business partner Richard Bermont fund a week of interviews at financial institutions in New York for a group of students attending the University of Miami School of Business, his alma mater.

When he began his career in the mid-1990s and was renting a room in an apartment, Carlin says he knew that if he “was lucky enough to have success in my professional life I had to also commit to making a difference in others’ lives.” And over the years, his definition of success has remained constant.

“I firmly believe that if one wants to attempt to truly be a successful human being, charity must play a large role in their life. I realize that I’ve been incredibly blessed in so many ways in my life,” the advisor said, adding that he has “an amazing wife” and twin five-year-old boys.

The couple decided to host an annual dance for kids at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, for instance, since many of the children are not healthy enough to attend such events at their schools. “It’s an amazing evening [for about 100 patients and 100 other guests]. When you enter the room it absolutely looks like a prom at any school around the country,” he explained.

At the University of Miami, the Bermont/Carlin Scholars program selects and send about 20 students to the Big Apple for five days of interviews with different types of financial institutions, according to Carlin. “The goal of this trip is for each student to come back with at least one offer from their interviews,” he explained.

For the advisor, these charitable activities — and others — bring him “an enormous amount of satisfaction,” he says. “To be able to know that I have in some way made a difference in the life of another person or group of people brings me joy which simply can’t be felt through any other achievements.”

Earlier this year, the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center appointed Carlin chairman of its board of governors. The longtime advisor also serves on the boards of the New World Symphony, Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, Cancer Support Community Greater Miami and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Asked about his philanthropic choices, the advisor said, “For me it’s usually about what tugs at my heart.”

As for the thinking behind his efforts, “For whatever reason, I am lucky enough to be one of those people who have what I call ‘elegant problems.’ On the other hand, there are many who, for no fault of their own, have been forced to deal with issues, often beyond their control … I understand that I could easily have been one of those people … and see it as a responsibility to try to make a difference in these people’s lives,” he explained. 

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