A focus on overall expenses boosted this $3.9M advisor's practice

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This profile appeared earlier this year as part of On Wall Street's Top 40 Under 40. All details are as of Sept. 31, 2016. To see who else made the top 10, please click here.

Dan Rothenberg's career as a financial advisor was barely two-years-old when the financial crisis hit.
"I was just sort of getting up and running," says Rothenberg, who ranked no. 9 with $3.96 million in production on On Wall Street’s Top 40 Under 40 ranking. "In hindsight, that wasn't exactly a blessing, but I was out there trying to get new assets while a lot of financial advisers were just trying to get through."

Rothenberg, who studied economics at Harvard, says his early years involved a lot of early mornings and late evenings. In other words, a lot of hustling. "I kept my head down and moving forward," he says."

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Today, the Los Angeles-based UBS advisor attributes his and his team's success to a focus on keeping things simple from an investment perspective and fees reasonable for clients.

"I think we price ourselves attractively and we focus on overall expense to the client. We think that makes a big difference. It also gives us an easier hurdle to beat rather than a benchmark," he says.

His team is also comprised of two other advisers and four staff members. Their practice is largely referral-based. It is a combination of private clients and endowments. With new clients, Rothenberg typically doesn't talk about stocks, bonds or other securities, he says.

"Really, starting out it's never about the investments or the allocation," he says. "It's: What are the goals? What are the spending needs? What is your risk tolerance?"

Rothenberg notes that new technologies, especially robo advisors, are changing the wealth management business. But as they work to further grow the practice, Rothenberg's focus remains on tried and true methods: "Keep doing what we're doing, keep it simple and don't stray into areas that we don't necessarily understand."

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