The Smart Worker

Howard S. Lorch showed up at his first day of training uninvited. At his now defunct St. Louis firm Dempsey Kegler, Lorch was told he was more suited for social work than for the broker life. Not taking no for an answer, Lorch, a colorful storyteller, remembers he was inducted into the brokerage world with these words: I'll say one thing for you Lorch, you're a persistent little bastard. You're going

Howard S. Lorch showed up at his first day of training uninvited. At his now defunct St. Louis firm Dempsey Kegler, Lorch was told he was more suited for social work than for the broker life. Not taking no for an answer, Lorch, a colorful storyteller, remembers he was inducted into the brokerage world with these words: “I'll say one thing for you Lorch, you're a persistent little bastard. You're going to be our 21st trainee.”

Some 39 years later, Lorch manages $1.3 billion dollars for about 200 high-net-worth clients, corporate executives and NBA players. He swears Trish Bonnot, his 24-year colleague, is a “big reason for his success.” He used to have as many as six or seven people working with him on his team. But 5 years ago, Lorch and Bonnot decided to go it alone, and since then, they have managed to double their business.

Before settling at Prudential in 1995, Lorch moved around a bit, working as a broker at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and then at Credit Suisse, where he met Bonnot in 1984. One lesson Lorch says he's learned is that he's going to make money for clients and lose money for clients, but if he shows consistency in the way he treats people and in his customer service — well, that means everything to clients. Lorch takes a long-term view of investing, and likes to repeat that old saw that, “short-term greedy” is “long-term stupid.”

Growing up, Lorch thought that he would become a professional basketball coach. He was the basketball manager for his high school team (which included his friend and famous NBA coach Pat Reily), and later in college at the University of Houston, where he roomed with All-American Elvin Hayes, a client of his today. Lorch says, “My clients are great in that I consider every one of them my friend.”

Firm: Wachovia

Age: 65

Location: Houston, Texas

AUM: $1.3 billion

Years with firm: 13

Years in the business: 39

Business specialty: HNW individuals, corporate clients, professional athletes.

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