7. CHRISTOPHER LAZOS</br>
After majoring in architecture and engineering in college, Chris Lazos realized those careers weren't for him. He decided to pursue his passion for investing on Wall Street.
Lazos, who had been buying stocks since his teens, spent a summer at a small brokerage firm, cold-calling business owners and corporate executives. It was 2003, shortly after the market crash, and many other advisors were cautious about stocks, Lazos says. "I was more positive, and I succeeded in getting business there," he says.
After a few years, Lazos moved to Maxim Group, where he made partner by age 25. By then, he had decided to shift from a transactional business to a managed business, providing more-comprehensive financial advice on a fee basis. In May 2008, he left Maxim for Oppenheimer, bringing many of his clients with him.
"I still had most of their assets in cash when the financial crisis hit in the second half of 2008," the New York-based advisor says. "To me, this felt like a repeat of 2003, so I advised clients to stay in stocks and even increase their holdings, which has worked out well."
Switching to a managed business means Lazos mainly relies on boutique money managers to handle his clients' assets. "They may have left a large firm to go on their own, so they now have fewer assets to manage," he says of these professionals. "This makes them more nimble than the competition, able to produce better returns."
Lazos has added another role to his career: portfolio manager. His managed account, a dividend growth strategy, is now up to $30 million in assets, Lazos says.