If it wasn't for his soccer team, Jason Chandler might not be in wealth management today.

The UBS executive was captain of his soccer team at the University of Richmond in Virginia. He was originally a pre-med major, but a scheduling conflict forced Chandler to choose between being captain of the soccer team or study another discipline. He opted for the latter, choosing business. Chandler says he's has never regretted the choice.

Chandler, now Head of Wealth Management Advisor Group, East,at UBS, was born in Denver to two school teachers. His mother taught science, and his father also doubled as a referee for college football games, occasionally bringing a young Chandler along with him.

"He'd come home and say, 'Oh this guy, Barry Sanders, is great.' You'd never know their name, and then two years later they'd be a Heisman trophy winner," says Chandler, 44.

After graduation, he joined PaineWebber's management training program (UBS later acquired the firm). Part of his training included visiting numerous branches around the country to get feedback from advisors and staff on improvements the firm could make.

"I think that's where I really learned to appreciate the wealth management business and the impact that financial advisors could have on client lives. Every day was different in terms of market influences and client emotions and behaviors. It was really dynamic," Chandler says.

As the program drew to a close, Chandler heard of an opening on the management team of John Decker, who oversaw one of the firm's largest branch offices in New York (and still does). As Chandler went to see him on a late Friday afternoon, Decker was getting ready to leave for a weekend at his lake house.

Chandler asked for a shot at the job. Decker replied in effect that he was too young for such a senior position, and besides he had to get going. Chandler's counter-offer: he'd drive Decker to the lake house and they could do the interview in the car. Impressed with his determination, Decker did the interview with Chandler right then and there.

Chandler got the position, and Decker became a key mentor, says Chandler, who adds that he was very lucky to have connected with Decker.

"He's still someone I call to get advice and perspective. He taught me a lot about the business, and how to treat people," Chandler says. "I think in this business, especially when you are dealing with strong personality and clients and money, it's vital to always to be transparent, treat people fairly and be respectful of everyone in the office regardless of their role or production."

During this time period, Chandler effectively held two jobs; manager by day and advisor by night, an experience that he says gave him enormous appreciation for the work advisors do.

"As people know who do it, [prospecting for clients] can be exhilarating and depressing at the same time," Chandler says. "But I think frankly, that doing it yourself, calling clients, developing relationships – it gives you a tremendous appreciation how hard it is to build a business from scratch."

Today, Chandler oversees more than 2,900 advisors in the eastern half of the United States and in Canada. An athlete for years, he spends his downtime playing sports with friends and coaching his daughters' soccer teams. Perhaps not surprisingly, sports and wealth management have a lot in common; they often involve teams, they're people oriented and they both require drive and determination.

"I feel like I've had a privileged career and benefited from wide ranging experiences that continue to push me to learn, be a better leader and help our advisors give the best advice possible," he says.

Read more: