A media shy financial advisor in Silicon Valley, Divesh Makan of Iconiq Capital, stands to bring in a potentially historic haul of new assets under management when Facebook launches its long-anticipated IPO, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Back in 2006, Makan introduced himself to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his early team, years before the startup would go on to revolutionize the world of social networking, the Journal reports. Makan not only took on Zuckerberg as a client but also Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, according to the story.
It also lists the company’s founding president, Sean Parker, and Zynga CEOMark Pincus as clients. Sandberg and her husband Dave Goldberg have reportedly held wine dinners at their home for a few dozen of Makan’s clients.
Ron Gong, co-head of the Palo Alto office of wealth management firm Harris myCFO, pointed to $29 billion in current collective market capitalization across last year’s IPOs of Internet companies LinkedIn, Pandora Media, Groupon and Zynga. “It is the start of a new wave of wealth creation,” Gong told Financial Planning. The Facebook IPO could value the company at up to $100 billion.
Gong, who knows Makan professionally, said wealth managers in Silicon Valley spend a lot of time on pre-planning in anticipation of IPOs. “There have been a lot of private placements and a lot of secondary sales prior to these big events,” he said.
As a result of the economic downturn, many clients are thinking more cautiously and proactively about their wealth planning, he said.
“With wealth comes a great amount of risk and complexity,” factors today’s crop of Internet entrepreneurs are keenly aware of, he said. “We like to look at sustainable spending and immunizing your lifestyle. There’s an interdependent relationship between lifestyle and capital, and there is great value in diversification.”
The Journal reports that Makan, 38, grew up in South Africa, the son of a consumer-electronics store owner. He earned an M.B.A. at the Wharton School after a stint with Anderson Consulting. In 2001, he went to work for Goldman Sachs in San Francisco. Seven years later, Makan left Goldman for Morgan Stanley, receiving a signing bonus of $20 million as a loan repayable over several years, the paper reported.
Makan and colleagues Chad Boeding and Michael Anders went on to found Iconiq, a global multifamily office, in December. The Journal said Makan left Morgan Stanley because he didn’t want to be under pressure to sell products only offered by that firm, including public offerings they were underwriting.
Gong said planners in the Valley often develop relationships with clients by attending many of the same events that they do. Often, these events focus on innovation, like the annual TED conferences.
“That’s where leading edge ideas are being built,” Gong said. “We want to be close to those ideas early on because we want to do the planning as early as possible.”
Ann Marsh writes for Financial Planning.