Google Jeff Oster and you’ll find him on Amazon, MySpace, CD Baby, SoundClick, MP3, PayPlay, CD Universe — even Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
It’s unusual terrain for a financial advisor to inhabit. Then again, how many advisors do you know who are award-winning musicians?
An accomplished trumpet and flugelhorn player, the 50-year-old Oster has forged a path that has led to a remarkable intersection: successful careers in both music and financial services.
The vehicle: a big talent for sales and marketing.
Who: Jeff Oster, Registered Principal, Raymond James Financial Services, Alameda, Calif.How Oster explains his decision to become a financial advisor after playing in a bar band for a living: “I didn’t want to be 50 playing ‘Proud Mary’ at some dive bar in the San Fernando Valley with five people in the audience with their backs turned to me on a Tuesday night.”
A registered principal for Raymond James Financial Services in Alameda, Calif., Oster, with $350 million in assets under management, is a marketing machine. A direct mail wizard, he built his financial services practice by marketing to orphan insurance policy holders. Today, Oster’s biggest client, representing $20 million in assets under management, originated with a $10,000 annuity he sold in 1991. Oster is the agent of record on 5,000 annuities, which has resulted additionally in what he calls 100 “deep clients.”
Oster, meanwhile, has used the Internet to great advantage to market his music, chilled jazz that he defines as “Miles Davis meets Enya.” Oster, a one-time limo driver, stand-up comedian and bar band musician, says he began to rethink a musical career in 2003 when four songs he placed on MP3.com showed up on the website’s Top Ten Downloads list.
“I was getting 40,000 downloads a month, so I knew I had something going on,” says Oster, who has played trumpet since he was eight. “Over the years, I never had any idea of what kind of music I would make on my own. This was where it started. Today, I just play what moves me, what I love, what sounds good to me. And I figure if I love it, maybe somebody else will.”
The songs also attracted Will Ackerman, the founder of Windham Hill Records. In late 2003, Ackerman and Oster made the “At Last” extended play recording followed by the full-length album, “Released.” The album won the 2005 Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album awards at the NAR Lifestyle Music Awards, voted on by broadcasters. The Oster/Ackerman composition “At Last” won the Best New Age Song award at the 2005 Independent Music Awards.
“True,” Oster’s new Ackerman-produced album, was in the mix for a Grammy nomination as Best New Age Album, but did not make the final cut.