Top 100 Profiles:  John Fitzpatrick

Top 100 Profiles: John Fitzpatrick

Team Is of the Essence

Firm: UBS

Age: 48

Location: New York, N.Y.

Years in the biz: 26

Years with firm: 7

Specialty: Holistic wealth management for high-net-worth clients.

John Fitzpatrick knew back in high school he wanted to manage money for wealthy people. He was already reading Barron's, he says, and had figured out that he wouldn't need a lot of capital to get started. “The thought of knowing anyone with $1 million was beyond me,” he says. “But I knew that I wanted to make money and to have my own business, and I read a lot.”

Today, he manages $2.35 billion in assets for 40 clients with his team, Fitzpatrick Partners, and he has aggressive growth plans. In November of 2010, Fitzpatrick brought in two new partners and two administrative people; he expects to add more in the next six months. The goal: Add 125 clients and $5 billion in assets, and generate $25 million in operating revenue, by 2018.

Now is the time for growth, says Fitzpatrick. There has never been so much money up for grabs, even three years after the markets fell apart, and the recent upset will only accelerate that. “Really wealthy clients understand that something is wrong, that things are changing,” he says. “They're looking for people who can help them think about that and plan for that.”

Fitzpatrick's practice almost functions like a family office. His average client is an entrepreneur, business leader or private equity partner in his or her late 50s or early 60s with a net worth of $25 million or more. “They want to stay rich,” he says.

As for his investing approach, he does a little bit of everything — some in house, some out of house. He does not like style-box investing, but prefers managers who have their own money in the game and have a broad mandate to do anything and go anywhere in the markets.

Fitzpatrick says he's been incredibly lucky, with great mentors who were the perfect fit for every stage of his career development, including Bob Mulholland, who currently runs the UBS branch network. Today, John Decker, who runs his branch complex, is mentoring him on how to be a good business manager for his team. Running a team like a business is essential today and will become even more critical in the future, he says.

“What's happening is if you look at the markets today versus 25 years ago, you need a lot more assets to do $1 worth of business. To get those assets you need to be able to provide much broader service,” he says. “You have to work in a team because it's so time intensive. You need someone with a business mindset, who is part of a partnership.”

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