We asked for your votes, and you delivered. With more than 3,000 readers submitting first round ballots, the 2015 Wealth Management Madness bracket featured blowouts, some very close calls and a few surprising upsets on the road to determining the most influential person in the wealth management industry over the past year.
The closest contest came in the Establishment region, where last year’s champion, the CEO of UBS Group Americas Bob McCann, barely squeaked by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management top dog John Thiel; McCann won by just nine votes and now has to face Wells Fargo brokerage chief Mary Mack in round two.
What some thought would be a marquis matchup in the Mavericks region, the “robo battle” turned into an absolute demolition of Betterment’s founder and CEO Jon Stein by Wealthfront’s Adam Nash, despite Stein offering Betterment to advisors this year. Nash attracted more votes than anyone in the tournament, and despite support on Twitter, Stein attracted the least votes, leading to the most lopsided victory in the first round.
In the Regulators region, SEC chair Mary Jo White and Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellen once again defeated their first-round opponents. The two are now poised for a second-round rematch of last year’s contest in the Elite 8, when Yellen defeated White on her way to the finals.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Thought Leader category came with self-help guru, personal finance author and marathon conference presenter Tony Robbins’ victory over former Merrill Lynch wealth head honcho, Ellevate founder and ubiquitous denizen of "most powerful women in finance" lists Sallie Krawcheck. Robbins is no lightweight, but Krawcheck is a dominant force in the industry who made it to the Elite 8 in 2014 before narrowly losing to Larry Fink.
On Twitter, TD Ameritrade revived its #Rally4Nally campaign and helped push president TD Ameritrade Instutional's Tom Nally over Pershing CEO Mark Tibergien.
Social media support wasn’t enough for others: United Capital founder Joe Duran received several tweets of support, but ultimately lost to real estate maven turned serial brokerage acquirer Nick Schorsch in the first round. As for commentator and indpendent advisor advocate Michael Kitces, his legion of some 20,500 Twitter followers weren’t enough to put him over Kevin Keller, the head of the CFP Board.
#WMM15 Joe Duran is the man!— Jayme (@JaymeJjunck) March 3, 2015
Finally, there was some good-natured trash talk between first-round opponents recruiter Andrew Parish and MarketCounsel CEO Brian Hamburger, who is no stranger to social media arguments. Everything remained friendly, and Parish’s self-deprecating prediction ultimately proved accurate as Hamburger moves on to face Robbins in the Sweet 16.
Only 16 competitors remain, and voting opens Monday to determine who will advance to the Elite 8.