On the big screen, fictional insider-trading sleazeball Gordon Gekko exhorted: “Greed … is good.” In real life, cream-of-the-crop Wealth Advisor Peter M. Weintraub counsels: “Don’t deviate from being ethical, moral and truthful.”
This is one FA who’s giving the industry a good name. Indeed, he counts his code of ethics as an advisor’s No. 1 priority.
Weintraub, 68, has been with UBS Financial Services for 41 of his 42 years as an FA, having joined UBS’s predecessor, PaineWebber, in 1976.
First and foremost, his eight words to live by build client trust. “People need to know that you have their interest at heart, that it’s not the firm saying you should be making [this investment],” says the genial Weintraub, who boasts a glass-half-full outlook: “I’ve always given people the benefit of the doubt. Rarely have I been disappointed.”
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He is partners with Harvey E. Demsky and son Daniel Demsky in the Demsky Weintraub Wealth Management Group, with assets of more than $500 million under management. From offices on swank Rodeo Drive, in Beverly Hills, Calif., the team, including two service associates, specializes in high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients.
Weintraub, named to the firm’s prestigious President’s Council, is so valuable to his complex director, that the manager likens him to almost his partner. “Peter is the soul of the office. He represents all that’s good about our business and the nobility of helping others. He operates with a deep sense of compassion for his clients, the office and me,” says David Bigler, complex director-managing director.
As for Weintraub and Demsky, they’ve been an advisory team for 36 years now, having met as rookies at PaineWebber’s Beverly Hills branch. Today, the two and Daniel Demsky work in close partnership splitting revenues under one production number. All three sit together in one office at one big desk. They like it that way: Prior to an office remodel, they occupied separate side-by-side offices with a sliding window for, um, communication.
“We used to yell and scream back and forth. Now we have a much more efficient way to share ideas,” Weintraub notes.
The two original partners are complements to each other. “I might look at some opportunities that may be a little more aggressive. Harvey probably brings a bit more calmness and less volatility to the team. But both of us look at [investments] that are beneficial to the client on a risk basis more than [on] what the ultimate returns could be,” Weintraub says.
A people-person without a doubt, the veteran FA is particularly skilled at talking sense to rattled clients who can get caught up in the hype of overwrought financial TV reporters and their guests.
“If you watched one program, you would be a buyer; if you watched another, you’d be a seller,” Weintraub laments. “Noise and information overload is one of the biggest problems for financial advisors today.”
He continues. “But you have no control over the direction of the market. So you try to take some of the emotion out of it—both for yourself as well as your clients.”
An even more pressing issue for FAs, he notes, is record-low interest rates. “You need to find [investments] where you can get returns without taking on an inordinate amount of risk. We’ll do premium bonds and [callable] cushion bonds,” for instance. “And we’ll look at short-term bonds, so that if rates do go up, it’s not as though you bought a 30-year bond paying 2.5% or 3%—and now rates are much higher.”