Career Began: 1985
Home Base: Red Bank, N.J.
Civic Affiliations: New Jersey Paper Hill Playhouse and the Ranney School
Ira Walker has been called an “organizational genius,” a “true visionary” and one of Wall Street’s “most watched” financial advisors.
With more than $1 billion in assets under management, the 52-year-old Walker has created one of the industry’s most successful financial teams with a core clientele that reads like a Who’s Who of New Jersey.
But in some respects, Walker is just getting started. His goal is to manage $10 billion to $20 billion in assets over the next 10 years and build a business he can one day turn over to his children.
As he looks across the industry, something he studies carefully and critically, Walker observes: “The industry is changing rapidly, and the professional advisors that will survive will be the best. Ultra- and high-net-worth clients will be better served, in my opinion. It will be a great benefit to the investor.”
Walker, who grew up in Brooklyn, had been intrigued by the stock market when he was in college and became hooked when he watched a stockbroker work the room at a party in the mid-1980s.
“The whole party, and there were probably 20 people there, was listening to this one person. The command she had over these people, the knowledge she had…I thought that’s something I’d love to be able to do,” says Walker. And do it he did.
In 1985, Walker joined Shearson Lehman Brothers, becoming one of the top rookie financial consultants in the firm’s history. Two years later, he joined Morgan Stanley, his corporate home for 20 years. Earlier this year, he and his seven-member team left Morgan Stanley for UBS Financial Services, where he is ranked among the top 10 producers.
Walker, in constant touch with his top clients, says he joined UBS because its focus on wealth management is more in line with his practice. “It was very hard to leave, very stressful,” he says. “But it’s the greatest move I’ve ever made.”