EMM Wealth’s co-CEO Lloyd Abramowitz jokes that the average age of the 35 employees at the $2.6 billion RIA would be 39, but is actually “41 if you include Bill.” He’s referring to William Aaron, the surviving co-founder of the independent firm, who continues to serve some clients.
With Bill’s son David — CIO and co-CEO — and Abramowitz at the helm, EMM Wealth is celebrating its 50th anniversary by staying true to its traditions while embracing youth and diversity in its workforce and in the services it provides to its high-net-worth clients.
Much of EMM’s culture and services remains grounded in the firm’s traditions, but Abramowitz says that he and David Aaron view EMM as a “50-year-old startup.” To that end, over the past few years the firm has hired business development and marketing executives, and brought in consultants to teach employees “how to talk to clients and prospects.”
“Our desire as a multifamily office is to remain boutique,” says David Aaron. “We want to grow” in a way that maintains that intimate relationship. EMM’s client base includes “about 140 families,” but Aaron promises “we’ll never have 1,000 families.” He says of EMM’s employees that “we have a diverse crowd; almost half of our partners are women. There’s not a lot of old white men at the company.”
Most of EMM’s clients are New Yorkers, reports Abramowitz, and they expect a high level of responsive service. EMM’s mission statement includes a plain vanilla promise to “preserve, protect and grow” clients’ wealth, which it delivers through financial planning, sophisticated tax advice and nondiscretionary investment services appropriate to the complex financial lives of HNW clients.
But Abramowitz notes that EMM’s mission includes growing clients’ “well-being.” That means discussing with clients what they can accomplish with their wealth, working out family dynamics around inheritances and exploring what societal changes they can effect through avenues like socially responsible investing.
In addition, Abramowitz says “education has always been huge for us,” both in terms of educating clients and clients’ children as well. A highlight of the firm’s educational focus is EMM University, a type of financial literacy boot camp now in its fifth year that’s held each August for a dozen or so high school juniors and seniors, mostly clients’ children and grandchildren.