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The 2015 IA 35 for 35

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In the 35th anniversary year for Investment Advisor, and the 13th year we’ve been naming the IA 25, we thought it proper to publish a special list honoring 35 people who have been most influential in and around the business of independent financial advice.

Listed by alphabetical order, we also thought it proper to include Five to Honor—investment theorists and practitioners who are in nearly every advisor’s pantheon—and Five to Watch—younger influencers who we suggest are not only influential now but may well be on the 2050 IA 25.

We remind you that this is a subjective list, but one that has been through multiple iterations, proposed first by the editor-in-chief but modified significantly via input from the entire editorial staff of the Investment Advisor Group. Shorter profiles of our honorees are here; we invite you to read—and comment upon—the extended profiles of the IA 35 for 35 on throughout the month of May. Congratulations to our honorees—you’ve been instrumental in making this industry what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke, a former Princeton economics professor who studied the Great Depression of the 1930s, managed to prevent another Great Depression during his tenure as Fed chairman.

The Fed under Bernanke became more transparent, instituting quarterly news conferences and economic projections disclosing when possible the degree of uncertainty policymakers attach to their projections.

Bernanke has been criticized for sowing the seeds of future inflation and another asset bubble with the policies he pushed, but so far that hasn’t happened.

Although he’s no longer a policymaker at the Fed, Bernanke still seems interested in influencing it. He’s started a blog at the Brookings Institution where he’s now a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with its Economic Studies Program, which is almost all about monetary policy.

In mid-April, Bernanke made a move that past Fed chairmen, Treasury secretaries and many of his former colleagues have made: he went to Wall Street. Bernanke is now a senior advisor to the Citadel Investment Group, a $25 billion hedge fund founded by billionaire Ken Griffin.—Bernice Napach

Click here to read the extended profile.

Tom Bradley

Ask Tom Bradley to look back at pivotal moments that shaped the advisory business and he recalls May Day 1975, the day the Securities and Exchange Commission deregulated commissions. “Two industries came out of that [deregulation]: discount brokerage and the independent registered investment advisor business,” Bradley said.

During his 30 years at TD Ameritrade, in which he’s steered both the retail and institutional businesses, Bradley has watched two major trends unfold: the role technology has played in reshaping the investor/advisor relationship, as well as investors “flocking” to what he calls the “newer” advice model—fiduciary, fee-based advice.

“We’ve gone from a straight-up ‘call us and we’ll write up a trade ticket’ [model] to what is being referred to today as omni-channels; you can still call us [and] walk into a branch,” Bradley said, but clients can now go online or use a mobile device to do business with TD Ameritrade. In fact, mobile is “one of our fastest growing channels,” he said, representing more than 15% of TD Ameritrade’s daily trades.—Melanie Waddell

Click here to read the extended profile.

Dale Brown

Eleven; 27, 100+; 37,000, $8.5 million. While it can be misleading to use numbers to gauge the importance and reach of an organization, these numbers from the Financial Services Institute tell a good tale: 11 years of operation—emanating from the Financial Planning Association; 27 professional staff members in the group; more than 100 independent broker-dealer member firms; 37,000 individual advisor members in FSI; and a 2015 budget of $8.5 million that includes allocations to hire three new advocacy staffers, bringing the total number to 13.

Regarding Dale Brown, we can add another number: nine, for the number of years Brown has found a place on the IA 25.

When asked how the group, and specifically Brown himself, has been able to get the sharply competitive leaders of those 100-plus IBDs to put aside their differences and pull together for the FSI—and just as importantly help fund the group—he’ll say it’s FSI’s “laser-like focus on advocacy.”—James J. Green

Click here to read the extended profile.

Warren Buffett

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Warren Buffett’s takeover at Berkshire Hathaway, then a struggling textile business that has grown into a sprawling conglomerate.

“In its early Buffett years, Berkshire had a big task ahead: turning a tiny stash into a large and useful company,” wrote Buffett’s longtime business partner Charlie Munger in this year’s shareholder letter. “It solved that problem by avoiding bureaucracy and relying much on one thoughtful leader for a long, long time as he kept improving and brought in more people like himself.”

After 50 years under Buffett’s reign as chairman, president and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway is still going strong, with more than 50 constituent companies employing 300,000 workers, and with a market cap greater than $300 billion. Its sought-after Class A stock may be the most expensive of any public U.S. company, eclipsing $200,000 per share for the first time in August 2014.

“We have never invested in companies that are hell-bent on issuing shares,” Buffett wrote in his latest shareholder letter. “That behavior is one of the surest indicators of a promotion-minded management, weak accounting, a stock that is overpriced and—all too often—outright dishonesty.”

Buffett, together with Munger, built today’s Berkshire on a simple philosophy: “Forget what you know about buying fair businesses at wonderful prices; instead, buy wonderful businesses at fair prices,” Buffett wrote.—Emily Zulz

Click here to read the extended profile.

Joe Deitch

Chances are good that Joe Deitch is the only chairman of an independent broker-dealer that can claim a Tony Award for his work as a Broadway producer. Commonwealth Financial Network, the independent BD founded by Deitch in 1979, is used to getting other kinds of awards—through 2014, Commonwealth marked its seventh straight year as one of the best places to work (from The Boston Globe for its Waltham, Massachusetts headquarters) and was on the San Diego Business Journal’s best places to work list for six years, in addition to multiple honors from the likes of Computerworld and J.D. Power. Oh, and it’s won Broker-Dealer of the Year honors from this magazine 10 times.

But the most unique part of Commonwealth isn’t its numbers or accolades, but its culture. Deitch and his long-time partners, including CEO Wayne Bloom, act like a functional family: firmly committed to a common goal, wary of outsiders (such as might be the case if they acquired another BD and its problematic reps), fond of pushing each other’s buttons in an affectionate way and committed to each other—not just the partners, but all the employees and, by extension, the reps who throw in their lot with Commonwealth. And the charismatic Deitch remains a presence at the firm.—JG

Click here to read the extended profile.

Chris Dodd and Barney Frank

Nearing its fifth anniversary, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—for good or ill—continues to reshape the financial services regulatory landscape.

While the law’s two authors have since retired from Capitol Hill, they still keep a watchful eye on the financial reform law’s progress. Former Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., now heads the Motion Picture Association of America, while former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is writing books and doing the speakers circuit.

Sparked by the financial crisis of 2007 to 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act requires that regulators create 243 rules, conduct 67 studies and issue 22 periodic reports.

GOP lawmakers have vowed a full court press this year on introducing bills to roll back the financial reform law (despite the fact that President Barack Obama vows to veto them if they reach his desk).

When talking about the financial reform law that bears his name on “Real Time with Bill Maher” in mid-March, Frank said that “one of the issues that will be before the American people in 2016 is do we maintain financial reform […] or essentially go back to the unregulated situation because the Republicans will be for undoing it while Hillary Clinton has made very clear that she’s for keeping it the way it is.”

Added Frank: “Between now and the election, I’m confident that the president is going to protect it.”—MW

Click here to read the extended profile.

Ken Dychtwald

There are a number of demographic, economic and sociological changes happening to affect people’s lives and, by extension, the financial services industry, according to Ken Dychtwald, president and CEO of Age Wave. “On the first day of the 20th century, the average life expectation was 47. On the last day, it was 78. Today, it’s approaching 80 and continues to rise,” Dychtwald told Investment Advisor. “In fact,” he said, “retirement is going through a massive facelift.

As clients envision a retirement that “is not simply an on/off switch […] but rather a time of new beginnings,” advisors will have to follow with “an entirely new set of understandings.” That includes a new appreciation of the products that will help retiring clients, as well as new skills to relate to people.—Danielle Andrus

Click here to read the extended profile.

Harold Evensky

When Harold Evensky started in the financial planning business, the industry was still young, and along with limited options in technology, there were few advisors with planning expertise.

“I taught the investment portion of the CIP program at the University of Miami and in my class was a UPS driver and a French teacher,” he said. “But that was fairly typical. I was an engineer who came from the construction business. Back in those days, everybody came from somewhere else; nobody started off in planning.”

Now, just as the industry has grown from UPS drivers and French teachers to trained experts, technology and planning software have improved to allow advisors to provide a level of quality in their work that “wasn’t possible before,” Evensky said.

“I believe, over the next couple of decades, simply to be competitive, we are going to have to significantly expand our value offering beyond simply portfolio management,” he said.—DA

Click here to read the extended profile.

Sheryl Garrett

Since she started her practice, billing clients by the hour, on April Fool’s Day in 1998—“You’ve got to have a sense of humor to be self-employed,” she joked—Sheryl Garrett has seen a lot of advisors follow in her footsteps. Over 320 advisors across the United States are members of the Garrett Planning Network, offering fee-only advice on an hourly basis to middle-income clients.

She sees the proliferation of robo-advisors as a change for the better, as they will put pressure on prices and make financial advice more accessible to more clients. There are limitations to expanding access to financial advice through a robo-advisor, though. “The majority of people don’t want to just turn to a website or a calculator. That might solve one or part of their needs, but they do want to connect with a human being to say, ‘Did I do this right?’”

Garrett stressed that serving more clients isn’t about serving more wealthy clients. “They have choices out there,” she said. For firms in the Garrett Planning Network, serving clients is about “finding new and different ways to meet the needs of younger people, millennials, people just getting started, middle-income clients and folks with even more modest means than that.”—DA

Click here to read the extended profile.

Bill Gross

Despite a rough couple of years, probably no mutual fund manager is as famous or as influential as Bill Gross. In 2013, PIMCO Total Return posted its first loss in 14 years and in September 2014, Gross suddenly announced he was leaving the company for a new job at Janus Capital Group, just months after his co-CEO Mohamed El-Erian unexpectedly resigned.

Still, up until late September 2014, he ran the world’s largest bond fund, the PIMCO Total Return Fund, which he created in 1987 and grew to $270 billion in assets by 2012. The fund often outshined its competitors, earning Gross Morningstar’s Manager of the Decade award in 2010 for “investment calls and top-notch performance” that made investors $47 billion wealthier and Gross “one of the best investors of our era.” The Bond King ruled.

When he left PIMCO, $10 million immediately followed him to the new Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, and legendary billionaire investor George Soros invested $500 million in a separately managed Janus account managed by Gross.

By April 10, assets of the Unconstrained Bond Fund had had grown to $1.5 billion. The growth, however, wasn’t due to only performance and inflows. Gross himself had invested $700 million in the fund, Janus Chief Executive Dick Weil disclosed in January.—BN

Click here to read the extended profile.

Lou Harvey

The wizard behind the Dalbar curtain is Lou Harvey, who has led the Boston-based market research firm since he founded it in 1976.

Harvey has kept Dalbar on the cutting edge of some key issues in financial services. For example, he helped popularize behavioral finance long before it was in vogue with the firm’s Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior” (QAIB) report, now in its 21st edition.

QAIB brought to investor consciousness the distinction between investment returns and investor returns. Its April update showed that stock mutual fund investors trailed the S&P 500 by over 8%.

Dalbar’s mission, which remains as valid today as it did at the firm’s inception, is that, as he put it, “by doing things right, we can in fact generate opportunities and profits.”

Among his biggest current preoccupations is Dalbar’s involvement in the fiduciary movement, albeit with a distinctly different spin from that of other fiduciary advocates: “As the industry organizes itself, the solution is to act in the client’s best interest […]. That’s really the only sustainable path,” he said in his dulcet Caribbean accent.

But to him, part of the fiduciary mission means “raising awareness of the folly of trying to mandate standards of quality.”

“It seems patently obvious,” he explained, “that simply changing the label that somebody wears isn’t going to change their character. If I’m acting in my client’s best interest […], I’m going to continue to do that regardless of [my registration].”

Besides his efforts to get advisors to operate at a higher standard, Harvey’s other goals include teaching advisors how to mitigate growing regulatory risks while showing them how to do business without being dependent on product manufacturers.

“I think we can show them how they can profit from a more aligned compensation system,” the fiduciary advocate said.—Gil Weinreich

Click here to read the extended profile.

Angie Herbers

Ten years ago, 25-year-old Angie Herbers raised a ruckus by writing about an under-reported issue. “The gap between successful planners and the next generation is wider than most people realize, and it’s growing.” She didn’t stop there. In her writings and speeches and research since—and in her day job at her eponymous company—she has been proposing solutions to bridging that gap, offering tough love advice for both veteran owner-advisors and younger planners.

Last year, Herbers merged her firm with Wealth Management Marketing, and in mid-April that firm became Kaleido, which offers a free business assessment tool to advisors—the Kaleido Scope. Kaleido’s goal, she said, is to help advisors “look at your business in a different way” to overcome growth hurdles. “What got you here,” she said, “won’t necessarily get you to the next level.”—JG

Click here to read the extended profile.

Tom James

Tom James became CEO of Raymond James in 1970, succeeding his father Bob, and held that role until 2010; he remains chairman. Under his leadership, Raymond James not only built a successful public company but also a big tent for advisors. Under the RJ umbrella, you can be an employee advisor, an independent contractor or a fully independent RIA. Long before other IBDs and even wirehouses discovered that giving their advisors a choice of affiliation was a good rep retention move, it was business as usual at Raymond James.

Then there is Raymond James’ focus on financial planning, which in an April interview James said he learned from “sitting at my father’s feet on Saturdays,” while Bob James spoke to his clients. “When Tom came on board,” recalled 40-year RJ advisor Mike Hines, “he changed everything.”—JG

Click here to read the extended profile.

Rob Arnott, John Bogle, Eugene Fama, Benjamin Graham, Harry Markowitz

When it comes to investing theory and application, these five men being honored as part of the 2015 IA 35 tend to be in every advisor’s pantheon.

Interestingly, these are also men who have strong personal connections with each other—either as student and teacher, mentor and mentee, or business advisor and entrepreneur. Not that they always agree, but even in their criticism and their aversion to suffering fools gladly, they’re more interested in getting to the truth than they are in scoring points.

Let’s start with Graham: the father of value investing, yes, but more important, the person who democratized investing, explaining the ways of Wall Street while paving the way for advisors and clients to avoid the ways of Wall Street. Graham’s influence came through his collaboration with David Dodd in research, teaching at Columbia University and publishing seminal books. Perhaps his most famous student, Warren Buffett, called Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor” (1949) “by far the best book on investing ever written.”

In his foreword to Rob Arnott’s book “The Fundamental Index,” Harry Markowitz summed up fundamental indexing this way: “What I will refer to as an efficiency-weighted portfolio will outperform a capitalization-weighted portfolio.” In a footnote in the book, Arnott wrote that “many of the critics of the Fundamental Index concept are our friends and even mentors,” noting that Jack Bogle himself encouraged Arnott to launch his firm Research Affiliates. In turn, Arnott “views Bogle as one of his heroes […] and sees the Fundamental Index concept as a natural and important extension of Bogle’s impressive legacy.”

So what of the legacy of John Bogle, the champion of index investing, the creator of the Vanguard culture and the unswerving advocate for the individual investor? Another member of this year’s IA 35, George Kinder, had this to say about him: “One of the things Bogle has said is that the only mistakes he ever made were when he made a decision based on business or based on marketing. His great decisions were based on the consumer, what the consumer cared about.”

In 2013, IA Editor-at-Large Bob Clark wrote about a conversation he had with Markowitz, the Nobel laureate and the founder of modern portfolio theory, which with the publication of the 1986 Brinson, Hood and Beebower paper “became the foundation of today’s independent advisory industry,” wrote Clark. What did Markowitz say to Clark? “Perhaps the most important job of a financial advisor is to get their clients in the right place on the efficient frontier in their portfolios, but their No. 2 job, a very close second, is to create portfolios that their clients are comfortable with.”

Our fifth man to honor is Eugene Fama, who still teaches at the University of Chicago, and who also won the Nobel in Economic Sciences for his work on creating the efficient market hypothesis. Speaking last year, a former student and teaching assistant of Fama’s, Cliff Asness of AQR Capital hedge fund fame, pointed out that despite their different takes on the efficiency of the market, “along with Jack Bogle, he’s one of my investing heroes.”—JG

Daniel Kahneman

Behavioral finance has become widely accepted in financial planning circles as the industry recognizes that sometimes perfectly intelligent clients do very stupid things. In endeavoring to learn why that is and prevent it as much as possible, there may be no more respected thinker than Daniel Kahneman.

Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard University, called Kahneman “the world’s most influential living psychologist.” In an article for The Guardian, he said, “He pretty much created the field of behavioral economics and has revolutionized large parts of cognitive psychology and social psychology.”

Kahneman received the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics in 2002. British economist Richard Layard said that that award “has made happiness respectable—not only as a subject of study but as a goal for society.”—DA

Click here to read the extended profile.

Deena Katz

One of the biggest changes to occur in the independent advice industry over the last 35 years is that the advisors who comprise it have come to realize the importance of what they do, according to Deena Katz.

The co-chairman of Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial and associate professor at Texas Tech University said it’s not just what the advisor does for the client, it’s the way they engage the client in the planning process.

“We now understand how valuable that process is, and how valuable it is to take people through their life issues and have them weigh in on what’s happening and be a productive part of the planning aspect,” she told Investment Advisor.

Advisors who are doing a good job recognize their clients’ weaknesses and decide what needs to be done first, she said.

“We do the things that we think are most important, and then we begin to tackle the other things. We don’t ignore them, which is where a lot of the industry is now. [They say,] ‘We just do asset management.’ That really is optimizing returns, not optimizing financial life.” Consequently, Katz doesn’t see robo-advisors as a threat, but worries that they focus too much on investments and returns and leave out the planning.—DA

Click here to read the extended profile.

George Kinder

Nobody had any idea what the life planning movement was in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, said George Kinder, founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning, and by the ‘90s, only a “few dozen people” were practicing it. Now Kinder has taught life planning courses in “28 countries, on all six continents.”

Kinder expects the fiduciary movement will continue to expand in the future. “You’re going to see that beginning this year, it’s mostly considered a movement having to do with pricing of our product, and the transparency of that pricing of our offering as financial advisors.”

One of his boldest predictions, though, is that “35 years from now, and I feel pretty confident about this, instead of financial advisors being at the bottom of trust surveys, financial advisors will be at the top of trust surveys.”

That will be because of three things: the move to a fiduciary standard of advice giving; adoption of life planning as part of financial planning; and recognition that advisors aren’t delivering financial plans and products, but freedom. “It’s delivering into the client’s life a degree of freedom that they didn’t realize was possible.”

Serving the underserved will continue to grow, Kinder said, and will “drive prices down for us advisors. The value of investment advice will less and less be in assets under management, and more and more be in the conversation.”—DA

Click here to read the extended profile.

Sallie Krawcheck

When Sallie Krawcheck, chair for Ellevate Network and its associated firm, Pax Ellevate Management, started as a research analyst in the ‘90s, she was told “that Wall Street was the only industry in the world in which one could become wealthy by simply being mediocre and essentially hiding in the pack.”

These days, the Wall Street veteran is adamant about the importance of women in management and for the long-term health of the financial industry. “Women are […] underserved,” Krawcheck said. The industry is “going to have to think differently if we want to attract and approach and engage with this enormous market.” (According to Ellevate Network and Pax Ellevate, women control about $20 trillion in investment dollars and represent some 9% of the world’s billionaires.)

When asked what she thought about robo-advisors, she cautioned against taking a purely negative approach. “We’re dismissing them; but in fact, it’s very important for our industry to continue and accelerate the trend of investing in technology,” she said.—Janet Levaux

Click here to read the extended profile.

Bernie Madoff

Five years after Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for conducting the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, investor confidence still hasn’t fully recovered.

While Madoff managed to steal $65 billion over decades from investors, the total amount distributed in the Madoff liquidation proceeding to date exceeds $7.2 billion, covering more than 54% of the losses of allowed claimants. The overall figure of $7.2 billion includes $823.7 million in committed advances from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.

When additional settlements awaiting distribution are taken into account, SIPC says, the total recovery to date in the Madoff liquidation proceeding totals $10.551 billion.—MW

Click here to read the extended profile.

Moshe Milevsky

There are three things that “really highlight the trends over the last 35 years” in the industry, Moshe Milevky, finance professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University, said.

First is that in 1980, interest rates were at “abnormally high levels,” between 15% and 20%. Over the next 35 years, they fell to almost zero.

Second, the services advisors provide are different. Milevsky recalled that “35 years ago, investment advisors and money managers were stock pickers. […] Even mutual funds hadn’t become entrenched, let alone ETFs and managed portfolios.”

The final big change over the past 35 years is in the nature of retirement. Three and a half decades ago, retirement was “a couple of years, a long vacation, and you get a pension from where you worked.” Now investors have to figure out how to make the money in a 401(k) or IRA last for a few decades.

Although he pointed to specific transformations that have brought us to today, Milevsky insisted predicting the changes of the next 35 years was an impossible feat. “Forecasting the future is a mug’s game,” he said. “In some sense, I think that part of the secret to being useful and valuable is not trying to forecast.”

He conceded that over the next few decades, the industry could change so much it would be unrecognizable to the advisor of 2015. The next generation of advisors needs to keep in mind that they may need to have very different skill sets in 30 years.

“A financial advisor may be a social worker 30 years from now. A financial advisor may be a gerontologist 30 years from now. They may be a life coach. They may be doing things other than managing their money, because that’s all going to be done by robo-advisors and online platforms,” he said.—DA

Click here toread the extended profile.

Chuck Schwab

Investment Advisor recognized the long-term impact Chuck Schwab had on the industry when we included him in our inaugural IA 25 list back in 2003. “If all that Charles Schwab had done was to found a discount brokerage that loosened the wirehouses’ stranglehold on stock trading, his place in history would be secured,” Jamie Green wrote then.

That wasn’t all he did, though. Schwab’s custody platform made the RIA model possible. Now, the firm serves 7,000 advisors with $1.13 trillion in client assets.

Schwab continues to be a disruptor, to the point that it’s disrupting the longevity of other disruptors. When the firm launched in March its robo-advisor offering, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, Cerulli Associates said it was a “serious threat to [robo-advisors’] continued existence.” Not only is the robo-advisor model easy to duplicate, big firms like Schwab can offer more services at a lower cost, according to Cerulli.—DA

Click here to read the extended profile.

Eric Schwartz

Many—most—advisors still don’t have a formal succession plan, but Eric Schwartz does, for himself and for his broker-dealer reps. Many advisors are struggling with the best revenue model for their businesses, since robo-advisors are putting price pressure on advisors whose “value” comes from picking a diversified portfolio of actively managed mutual funds while commissions are drying up. Schwartz’s Cambridge Investment Research broker-dealer is not confused by revenue models.

The now-34-year-old Cambridge with 2,700 reps was a pioneer in promoting fee-based business in the independent broker-dealer space; as of year-end 2014 (according to data gathered for IA’s annual broker-dealer survey in June), Cambridge had $36 billion in AUM in its fee-based business, delivering $332 million in revenue.

Perhaps you think that’s an old story, but consider CPG, a separate company Cambridge set up in 2010 that has more than 165 Cambridge reps as partners, reflecting over $15 billion in AUM (and at least one outside RIA, with more in the pipeline, Schwartz said). CPG provides capital to those reps for both acquisition purposes and so that the next generation of advisors can eventually acquire control of the individual firms. Schwartz said that while “I built CPG for the senior partner” as a succession planning entity, “the real beneficiary is the next generation.” 

The next generation of leadership at Cambridge itself is already in place, notably in the person of President Amy Webber, while Schwartz’s succession program includes a plan that will keep Cambridge in private hands.—JG

Click here to read the extended profile.

William Sharpe

Bill Sharpe’s Financial Engines might be called the first robo-advisor. When he co-founded the firm in 1996, he had already won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Two years later, the firm launched what the firm calls the “first independent online advice platform,” which uses Monte-Carlo-based planning to help consumers plan for retirement.

Financial Engines has found a lucrative role in retirement planning, providing technology-enabled retirement help to more than 9 million employees at more than 600 companies, partnering with major retirement plan companies like Vanguard and Fidelity.

Then there’s the Sharpe ratio, which Sharpe first described in 1966 to measure risk and reward, and is still a popular measure of a fund’s volatility.

Though retired from Financial Engines, Sharpe still serves as director emeritus on the firm’s Board of Directors.—DA

Click here to read the extended profile.

Mark Tibergien

For the superstitious, 13 is considered an unlucky number, but when it comes to Mark Tibergien, it’s a lucky 13 times that the Pershing Advisor Solutions CEO has been named to the IA 25. The number of years the IA 25 has been named? Thirteen.

While no man is an island—and Tibergien in particular can count his devoted custody and consultant advisor clients in the thousands and his mentees in the hundreds, including many other leaders of the business—Tibergien introduced the idea of applying rigorous business analytics to independent advisory firms. He has consistently sounded the alarm about the human capital shortage we’re already seeing in the industry. He has encouraged, cajoled—everything but threatened—advisors to do the right thing when it comes to succession planning—right for advisors, right for clients. He’s also run a couple of high-profile, innovative businesses with colleagues who share his passion and insights.

He has done it all with a relaxed intelligence and a sometimes pointed (and always on-point) sense of humor that disarms his critics while driving home his point.—JG

Click here to read the extended profile.

Don Trone

Don Trone’s transition from Coast Guard helicopter pilot to a fiduciary leader was a personal one: “A mortgage broker took advantage of me and I hated the feeling. I reported the incident to the regulators and they did nothing.”

After leaving active duty in 1987, Trone began working on his Master’s thesis titled, “Integrating a Fiduciary Standard of Care into an Investment Advisory Practice.” While compiling the thesis’s bibliography, “I could only find three books on the subject of fiduciary responsibility,” Trone recalled. “What struck me is how could you have a topic that impacts so many people have so little academic rigor? That’s when I made the decision to pursue what we now call the fiduciary movement.”

He’s been in the driver’s seat of that movement ever since—first launching the Foundation for Fiduciary Studies, becoming principal founder of fi360, to now heading 3ethos.

Any fiduciary rule issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trone said, will be a “compromise so it will be the minimum standard,” with “another 25 or so questions [being added to] the Series 7.”—MW

Marv Tuttle

If you want to build a profession, you need fiery visionaries and tub-thumping evangelists who can energize the grass roots. You need folks with specific technical knowledge and contacts among legislators and the profession’s regulators. You also need someone like Marv Tuttle, who headed the Financial Planning Association from 2004 until his retirement in 2012 and who has been a quiet, conciliatory force—with a steel backbone and clear-eyed ethics—in forging the profession beginning way back in 1983 when he became communications director for the ICFP.

Tuttle’s vision and guidance was seen in the successful merger of the ICFP and IAFP to form the FPA in 2000, but also in multiple FPA moves that served to build the profession—and better serve clients—even if it meant FPA itself could suffer some financial and membership consequences.

In writing about Tuttle at the time of his retirement, IA Editor-at-Large Bob Clark said that naming “Marv as CEO was the smartest thing any financial planning association has done in the 30 years I’ve been observing the profession,” and concluded that Tuttle’s crowning achievement was his ability to bring together FPA, NAPFA and the CFP Board into the Coalition for Financial Planning, “which someday could form the basis of a cohesive advisory profession.”—JG

Laurie Belew, Michael Kitces, Cam Marston, Wade Pfau, Clara Shih

By design, the 2015 edition of the IA 25—this year, the IA 35—is meant to take the long view, specifically looking at the people who have influenced the industry in its first 35 years. We would be remiss, however, not to honor those visionaries and business builders who are influential now, will be over the next year and may well be for the next 35 years. One editor made a strong argument, for instance, in favor of Michael Kitces, the polymath of financial planning, as being someone who is already among the most influential people in and around the industry; similar arguments could be made for all this year’s honorees.

Take Laurie Belew, who in addition to her day job as a planner at FJY Financial (that’s Fox, Joss and Yankee) and chair of the firm’s investment committee, is also the 2015 president of the FPA’s NexGen community. Using their own experiences, she literally wrote the paper with two colleagues on how to implement an internship program at a planning firm (called “Implementing Internships”).

Through his writings and speeches, and the generosity of his online time, Kitces has become the instigator of so many interesting and important discussion threads online and off that his influence is only matched by the number of his frequent flier miles.

Wade Pfau has been on the IA 25 list before for his ground-breaking—and conventional-wisdom-challenging—work on retirement planning. Like the other members of the Five to Watch, social media is where many followers first met Pfau: His Retirement Research blog——is a must-visit for planners interested in the best ways to save for, and withdraw from, a retirement portfolio.

Cam Marston is one of the funniest speakers you’ll ever hear, but his humor is an entrée into some of the hard facts and insights into how the generations differ in expectations and behavior. If you doubt you could learn any more about Gen X or Gen Y or millennials or boomers as clients, you’re mistaken, but if you hold a position of authority at a planning firm or a partner to advisors and you have anything to do with hiring young people, you must listen to Marston.

If most advisors have finally realized that they should be active on social media—or at least their firm should be—one of the people you can thank is Clara Shih, the founder and CEO of Hearsay Social (and a board member at Starbucks at age 29, taking the place of her now mentor, Sheryl Sandberg). Shih and Hearsay developed the means by which large companies—customers include Raymond James, HD Vest and Vanguard, to name but a few—could use social media for business purposes, and do it in a way that keeps the compliance people happy, no mean feat in itself.

It will be interesting to see in which directions these young visionaries lead the industry next.—JG


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