Jeffrey Wigbels doesn't think he's exceptional. He just has a mission: to raise as much money as possible for groundbreaking cancer research. To that end, he started TakeAimAtCancer in late 2009, intending to raise $10 million over the next five to seven years. He's off to a very good start. Since January of this year, the group has raised nearly $1 million. Wigbels interest in the research is very personal. On Oct. 11, 2006, the day before his son was born, he got the news that he had stage four non-smoker's lung cancer.
The foundation, supported by a website called TakeAimAtCancer.org, doesn't waste a cent. All 105 people working there are volunteers and donors, and it sends 100 percent of proceeds directly to the BATTLE project at M.D. Anderson, a cancer research center affiliated with the University of Texas. Wigbels chose M.D. Anderson because he was impressed by the research being done there by doctors Roy S. Herbst and Edward S. Kim, who are doing trials that have changed the way all kinds of cancers are treated in the United States. BATTLE clinical studies use therapies that are targeted to the individual's cancer, unlike today's standard treaments, such as chemotherapy. “This game change in targeted therapy will be what keeps me and others like me alive for many years to come,” says Wigbels.
Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Wigbels started working as a financial advisor in 1982. “I took a very hard look at myself and I wanted to do something that I would be totally responsible for and where I would have an intellectual dialogue with my clients and my peers,” says Wigbels. “I have a passion for what I do.”
He sees certain parallels between analyzing money managers and analyzing doctors and cancer centers. “They either do or don't have a process. They either are or are not professional in how they practice and do research. They either do or do not achieve results. M.D. Anderson achieves results. It is the one cancer research organization that will have an impact on every human being that has cancer in the United States.”
Firm: Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
City: Atlanta, Ga.
Years as a rep: 28
Years with current firm: 28
Production: $2.5 million (The Wigbels Group)
AUM: $250 million (The Wigbels Group)
Product mix: managed accounts, 75%; alternative investments, 25%.
Specialty: Money management consulting.
Designations, licenses: Series 63, 65, 7.