Neil Weissman doesn’t just meet challenges—he vigorously seeks them out.
Take, for example, becoming an FA during the financial crisis—and in the devilishly hard-hit Detroitmarket, at that. A career-changer, he had not a single client at the outset. Yet the resourceful rookie achieved uncommon success: In his first year, he raised $20 million-plus in assets—$13 million more than his goal.
Starting at an independent firm, the advisor, 40, has managed the Weissman Eppler Showich Investment Group of Wells Fargo Advisors since 2011. He personally has more than $93 million in assets under management; the group’s total AUM, from high-net-worth individuals and families, totals nearly $350 million. Based inAnn Arbor, Mich., Weissman specializes in alternative investments.
A calm and collected type no matter the chaos swirling, he has a motto: “People who put themselves in a position to be successful, find themselves successful.” The FA has indeed proven that by the speed at which he has developed his practice. Over the last five years, he has raised approximately $150 million in assets.
He was recruited by Wells Fargo from Telemus Capital Partners, a large RIA in Ann Arbor, where he set up shop in 2008.
“Neil is brilliant at finding out what you need and figuring out how to meet that need when you didn’t even know you asked for it,” says Heather Hunt-Ruddy, managing director and market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors’ Detroit market. She recruited Weissman.
The automotive industry was where he spent the first seven years of his first career. An engineer by training with a master of science from Stanford University, Weissman challenged himself indeed by switching to financial services.
“Learning a whole new industry was the toughest thing but also the best career decision I’ve ever made,” he says.
The financial crisis was, for him, a blessing in heavy disguise. “It turned out to be great timing because people were willing to listen to new ideas; [many] didn’t trust their advisors. I talked about the importance of staying rich, not getting rich—and winning by not losing,” he says.
Now that interest rates are on the ascent, “It’s the same message about wealth preservation but being tactical in a volatilely changing market. For a retiree,” he notes, “you’re going to shift some fixed income into a variable annuity, equities or cash.”
A step back to the future: Fresh from Stanford in 1996, Weissman joined the Ford Motor Co.’s management training program. He worked in a variety of areas, including engineering, manufacturing and business, and was based in Dearborn and Saline, Mich., and Cleveland.