A rising star at UBS, Daniel Rothenberg amassed over $2.1 billion in client assets in the four years since becoming a financial advisor—all without cold calling.
The 31-year-old instead used vintage techniques to build his practice: long hours and hard work. Getting into the office well before 6 a.m. every morning, Rothenberg started out working his contacts at previous employers. “I would go sit with people in my networks and let them know what I was doing,” he says. “It was getting a foot in the door and then I was able to tell my story.”
“My biggest trick is never approaching people and acting desperate,” Rothenberg says. And unlike the stereotypical tech-savvy young advisor, Rothenberg doesn’t use a lot of social media for prospecting. It seems a bit like cold calling, he says. “Face-to-face is meaningful to me and that’s worked.” Perhaps a little old-fashioned, he admits, but who can argue with the results?
But his success wasn’t instantaneous. After earning a degree in economics from Harvard, Rothenberg took some time off before pursuing a series of odd jobs in an attempt to find the right fit. “I was looking for something that was people and relationship-oriented,” he says, but at the same time, allowed him to use the “nerdy” economic models that he’d come to enjoy while in school.
He finally found it when he heard a family friend, Roger Stephens, was looking for a partner for his Morgan Stanley practice. Starting as a trainee in March 2006, Rothenberg balanced working in Stephens’ branch office with his training program responsibilities. “I was getting in at 5 a.m. and studying, then helping out in the office,” Rothenberg says. The hands-on experience paid off, as Rothenberg opted out of the program early to work full-time. “I decided I was better off as an advisor than a trainee,” he says.
Since joining UBS in November 2010 with $2.1 billion in client assets, the duo has doubled their assets in almost three years. Today the Los Angeles-based pair has approximately 50 institutional relationships focusing on retirement plans and endowments. They also manage assets for about 100 households, including a number of high-net-worth clients.