It was the thrill of a lifetime when, crossing the finish line in Frankfurt, Germany, he heard the announcer proclaim: “Larry Palmer, you’re an Ironman!”
The rigorous triathlon competition was certainly a high point for the hard-driving “Type A” Palmer — but only one more example of his impressive success story.
Fit in both body and mind, the Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido black belt, 48, is one of Smith Barney’s leading financial advisors, heading a team of 12 that manages assets of $2 billion for 150 families. In the firm’s top 5 percent of FAs, most of his ultra-high-net-worth clients are officers, directors and founders of public and private companies who have undergone a life-changing liquidity event.
Early in his 27-year career, Palmer — now a managing director and senior advisor of Citi’s Family Office, and a corporate client group director for institutional business — memorized as much as he could of the entire Securities Acts of 1933 and ’34. He wanted to know more about securities law than the corporate officers he called on.
“I don’t feel comfortable going out and talking to my clients about anything unless I think I know more about it than they do,” says the dynamic Palmer, a member of Smith Barney’s top-level Director’s Council and the Director’s Advisory Group, a panel that advocates for the firm’s advisors.
Based in downtown Los Angeles, heart of the city’s financial district, Palmer also maintains an office in Denver, Colorado, where seven on his team work. He and one Denver advisor are the group’s only FAs.
Specializing in clients with mid-market businesses, Palmer has found L.A. to be particularly fertile ground: most mergers and acquisition activity, and liquidity events in public companies there occur at the mid-level of capitalization.
“The clients we love working with are successful, anonymous and wealthy,” says Palmer, born and bred in Santa Monica.
“Larry is our family’s finance professor,” says long-time client Robin D. Richards, an e-commerce pioneer who founded, and sold, a series of Internet companies, including MP3.com and Tickets.com. “Larry’s stewardship of my assets for consistent, predictable growth has been nothing short of amazing. In 15 years, I’ve never had a loss.”
Training, preparation and learning are what Palmer is about. That’s what, he says, gives clients added value. He has a B.A. degree in economics from the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, earned in 1982, but since then, has also picked up the designations, CFP, CIMA, CEP (Certified Equity Professional) and CTP (Certified Treasury Professional).
He puts high priority on being “in the know” about world events. These days, he says, “you have to be much more well educated, on top of your game and focused on the dynamics of what’s going on globally because it’s effecting everything that’s happening in the capital markets in the U.S. and elsewhere.”
His high-profile practice started out in an E.F. Hutton bullpen, in L.A., where the then-rookie cold-called names from reverse phone directories.