Registered Rep.: Strangest request you ever received from a client?
Helene Robertson: In 1982, a retired schoolteacher asked me to find a mutual fund that had no weapons manufacturers in it. We went through every individual stock in every fund we researched, and it took about 6 weeks to find one. That was the start of socially responsible investing (SRI) for my firm. Today, at least 85 percent of my business is based on SRI.
RR: Favorite socially responsible fund?
HR: I seldom use regular mutual funds anymore. Curian's separately managed account (SMA) platform allows me to build customized portfolios for my clients. And you can eliminate any company or industry they don't want to invest in, with 13 separate social screens.
RR: First person you call when you get important news?
HR: I call my partner, Cath, first.
RR: Last great book you read?
HR: Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. It's the story of a retired circus veterinarian living in a nursing home; the ending is fabulous.
RR: One thing you cannot live without?
HR: Chocolate-chip cookies.
RR: If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be?
HR: Oprah Winfrey or Rosie O'Donnell.
RR: Most memorable vacation?
HR: Probably the trip I took to Maui earlier this year. We saw whales swimming in the ocean in front of our hotel everyday, and went to seven Hawaiian concerts.
RR: Best career move?
HR: The move from teaching early childhood education to starting my own financial planning practice in 1981.
RR: Outside of work, you can most likely be found?
HR: In my garden in Seattle, or Vashon Island or at a Seattle Storm basketball game; I have season tickets, center court floor seats.