Self-made next-gen advisor Andrew Kahner has had a keen eye for the mathematics of investing ever since business school and his subsequent stint as a Lehman Brothers bond trader. But for Andrew—who founded and leads a New York City-based UBS team with over $300 million in assets under management—a different sense of “investing” is what’s most relevant and exciting.
“My clients invest with me,” he says, “so I use my time to invest in them by learning everything I can. Wealthy people often value time more than money, so when our white glove service takes us above and beyond—saving clients time and energy, and helping them in any way possible—they can focus on what’s truly most important to them.”
Such going “above and beyond” can take the form of something simple, like being the first call in helping a client’s daughter recover the luggage she lost in a cab. Or it may be more complicated and involve an all-hands effort.
For example, a retired client with a passion for food and hospitality conceived the idea of a banquet to benefit a local non-profit serving at-risk families. Despite the client’s lack of fundraising experience, Andrew encouraged her and dove in with his team and extensive business network, securing sponsorships and contributions from 25 local restaurants.
$50,000 was raised that year for the nonprofit, and the event has become a successful annual function. “This was a win-win for our team,” Andrew says. “We helped a client achieve her dream while both making a positive community impact and opening a path for future referrals.”
Andrew also regularly invests in his own team. “I learned early on that many top advisors constantly reinvest back into their business and themselves, especially into the people on their team. The firm may eventually be ready to put in more resources, but it’s important to have an instinct that now is the time. So I’ll pay out of my own business for new staff and training to free myself up for my highest-value activities.”
While at Lehman Brothers, a business coach helped Andrew identify what was missing: a sense of fulfillment from helping others. So in 2008 he left his safe career to become a financial advisor in the middle of the Great Recession, essentially betting on—investing in—himself. Moreover, instead of joining a larger established team, Andrew decided to build his own business “one relationship at a time” to retain the flexibility needed to always best serve his clients.
As the entrepreneurial founder of a small team—with access to a large firm’s many capabilities—Andrew readily relates to the day-to-day details of the lives of his many entrepreneurial and business-owning clients. “You build successful relationships by focusing on clients’ agendas and people’s interests, and then following through.” Andrew prides himself on his work ethic and meticulous time management skills, but ultimately, his success is anchored in his consistent investment in his clients, his team, and himself.