Author Raj Sharma, born in India, has been a financial consultant with Merrill Lynch since 1987. Despite joining an industry dominated by old, “pale and male,” advisors, Sharma’s team now handles millions in investments for a select group of wealthy clients. His book, written for people entering the profession, describes his shaky start and reveals the precepts and core values he followed to achieve success.
At first, Sharma took whatever clients he could, but when that became too stressful, he culled his client list to those who could invest $10 million or more. He describes the strategies he and his team use to attract new clients and the family dynamics he observes when clients consider passing on their wealth. “You are no longer just a financial or wealth advisor – you are truly a life advisor,” he writes.
In later chapters, he offers information on setting goals, guiding a wealth management practice through financial crises and more, while also outlining the reasons many wealth advisors fail.
Along the way, Sharma delivers glimpses into his personal life—he rises at 5:30 a.m. to meditate and read financial reports—and details the philosophy, brand-building and goal-setting systems behind his success.
Readers might wish for more stories about Sharma’s clients. Because of confidentiality issues, the author can’t write about the big clients he secured or the gains he earned for them, although such stories would be inherently more interesting than some of the personal details he provides.
Readers should also be forewarned that the book presumes a basic level of knowledge about the business. For example, Sharma uses financial and technical terms like “ETFs,” “CRM,” and “key man insurance” without providing definitions.
That aside, young people considering the field will learn the difficulties of building and retaining a client base through this book, and older wealth advisors might enjoy reading about the strategies that led to the author’s success.
Also available in paperback and ebook.