Keith Rowling's focus on ultra-high-net worth families has kept his practice at Morgan Stanley thriving.

For the second year in a row, Rowling made the Top 40 Under 40. Rowling, who was 33 when he placed No. 2 in this year's ranking, made the cut with a total production of $8,078,945 and overseeing $550,000,000 in assets under
management.

Morgan Stanley's Keith Rowling says his client roster is now increasingly adding family offices.

As preparations are underway for the launch of a new nominations campaign this month, here's one last look at this year's rankings, based on personal trailing 12-month production for the period from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015.

Rowling's client roster increasingly includes family offices, he says. While family offices often provide comprehensive financial management for the wealthy, Rowling sticks to his basic expertise.

"We mainly offer investment solutions," he says. "Clients such as family offices come to us looking for superior performance at a time when expectations are low."

To Rowling, having a keen focus is vital to his advisory business.

"We work mainly in two areas. One is capital markets and the second is alternative investments," says Rowling, who was licensed during his freshman year at Notre Dame. He has been working for Morgan Stanley since 2009, according to FINRA BrokerCheck Records, and is based out of Troy, Michigan.

Within capital markets, Rowling says he is active in equities and fixed income. "The fixed-income markets are very fragmented," he says.

"You can buy wholesale. Alternatively, you can buy securities that have been stepped on three or four times. With today's low interest rates, there is little room for substantial returns. ... We prefer to buy in the underwriting."

A similar situation exists in equities. For stocks as well as fixed income, Rowling says being with Morgan Stanley gives him access to desirable offerings at relatively attractive prices.

"We can deliver solutions that are unique to our clients," he says, "often with products they can't get elsewhere. We understand capital markets — that's always been our focus."

In alternatives, Rowling concentrates on private equity and hedge funds. How does he choose among all the funds now available? "First, we look for managers who have provided a return of capital," he says. "We want managers who have multiple years of experience in this area. We also like to see a manager whose interests are aligned with the investors' interests."

Rowling adds alternative investments for his clients might include funds of hedge funds, hedge fund secondaries and hedge fund co-investments.

This bio originally ran as part package of profiles about On Wall Street's Top 40 Under 40.

Donald Jay Korn

Donald Jay Korn is a New York-based financial writer who contributes to Financial Planning and On Wall Street.