Andrew Altfest is a driven man. Driven to modernize his pioneering, honored family advisory practice, Altfest Personal Wealth Management, so that every client — not just the high net worth — is treated “like a Rockefeller.” That means leveraging technology to make a host of sophisticated services is available to all.
Promoted to president last March, Altfest, 39 — whom Forbes named a Best-in-State Wealth Advisor in New York in 2018 and 2019 — has brought fresh ideas and new initiatives to the trailblazing fee-only advisory that his parents, Lewis and Karen Altfest, founded in 1983.
Andrew first worked there part time, filing papers as a teen. Now he’s setting the course of the firm.
On Park Avenue in New York City, APWM has about $1.4 billion under management and a staff of 40, about half of whom are advisors.
Prior to his promotion, Andrew, who joined the practice 16 years ago, was a managing director and executive vice president.
His advancement was part of a longstanding succession plan, though his parents, both Ph.D.s, have no plans to retire. Lew Altfest remains CEO and chief investment officer; Karen Altfest is executive vice president and a principal advisor, specializing in helping female clients.
The innovative Andrew has spearheaded a number of initiatives, including the firm’s Young Professionals Group, targeting millennials. And he led the introduction of digital technology-enabled financial planning.
In fact, now the firm is gearing up to roll out artificial intelligence software it’s developed for comprehensive wealth management. In beta at APWM and selective advisor offices, it is expected to be available to all advisors early next year.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed Andrew, on the phone from his midtown office. In the chat, he shared an important piece of business advice his father gave him early on that’s indeed as relevant and valuable now.
Here are excerpts from our interview:
What’s your vision for the firm?
To treat every client like a Rockefeller! We intend to offer comprehensive wealth management to all our clients, not just the largest ones. That’s where technology comes in.
My vision is to automate comprehensive wealth management and serve up our recommendations on a platter to all clients. We’ve invested heavily in incorporating artificial intelligence and other advanced technology into our practice so that we can [provide] a ton [of services] to all.
The bulk of your clientele is high net worth. But you’re also serving others who aren’t on that level. Please discuss.