Most of our Top 40 This year appear to be chasing the ultimate client: the ultra-high-net-worth account. And so many of them are getting those customers. It's hard work, it's expertise, it's constantly calling, it's listening to client needs. It's all of those things. The list this year is dominated by Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. However, we left space for our Top Five Regional Advisors as well.

SLIDESHOW: 40 UNDER 40: No. 1 - No. 20

SLIDESHOW: 40 UNDER 40: No. 21- No. 40

SLIDESHOW: Top 5 Regional Advisors Under 40

So many of our advisors here have been on this list before, including our first place winner Thomas Hutson-Wiley. And, he offers two pieces of advice for financial advisors who aspire to real success: Pick a specialty and do not be afraid to partner. That's not all. He adds: "You have to truly be better than anybody else in some field and then just leverage that."

Thomas Hutson-Wiley, 37
Merrill Lynch // San Francisco
$2.33 billion in assets

Bank of America Merrill Lynch advisor Thomas Hutson-Wiley is optimistic about the current economy. And he has reason to be after steadily climbing On Wall Street's Top 40 Under 40 list for four years to ultimately land at number one. "We've bounced off the bottom, and we're back on the upswing and we're going to do well as a country," Hutson-Wiley says.

His practice focuses exclusively on venture capital and private equity investors. He helps them as they develop some of latest innovations in clean technology, financial services, health care and semiconductors. He thinks of those investors as barbell investors. That is because they have cash management needs on the one end, and fund risk that they take on with their professional positions on the other. He sees his role as helping to manage the middle, the part that helps carry all the weight.

His 16-member team, includes five advisors and 11 client associates, with offices in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Paris and Hong Kong. The team's goal is to take on smart, high quality clients with no minimum asset requirements.

What is rewarding for Hutson-Wiley is to coach his clients, as they are on the cusp of becoming very wealthy. "The goal for a lot of these guys is never to make money. It's to make an impression and do something great, and that's really cool." To handle that wealth, the team specializes in concentrated positions and has about 10% in fee-based business.

— Lorie Konish

John Batista Bocchino, 39
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney // New York
$2.3 billion in assets

This will be the last year on the list for John Batista Bocchino, who has seen his name here multiple times. For instance, he was ranked fifth in the December 2009 issue of On Wall Street.

"We've been doing this a long time. The actual clients that we have here have been clients for eight or nine years," he says. Two of his assistants have been with him for the same amount of time. That consistency is what gives him his edge. "The clients feel comfortable at the firm," he says. "Some of the markets have been down and there have been losses but assets have stayed more or less the same. It really comes down to the relationships with the clients."

While many advisors deal in mutual funds, Bocchino trades emerging market debt, especially in Latin America as well as structured products. "It's a nice business. It enables us to bring in lots of assets and pretty good-sized revenue for the firm."

Bocchino began his career in 1994 with the predecessor of UBS, working in the Latin American institutional area. "Being on the institutional side has helped me work with traders." Very little of his business, less than 5%, is fee-based. His principal market is Venezuela, which he visits six or seven times a year. "I love Venezuela," he says. Despite the political turmoil and high crime, "the margins are excellent," he says. "Venezuelan clients are very interested in the capital markets and in the U.S." Most of them are ultra-high-net-worth individuals and business owners. And now, he says, investors are thinking globally. "You're going to see more international brokers on your list," he predicts.

— Frances McMorris

J. Michael Bollinger,39*
Morgan Stanley PWM // Houston
$1.8 billion in assets

Houston is where J. Michael Bollinger's heart is. He worked at Goldman Sachs in the private wealth business as part of the management team in New York and London. Then, he says, "I made a decision that I didn't want to stick with management and moved back to my hometown in 2002 and went to Lehman Brothers." He moved over to Morgan Stanley during the financial crisis of 2008 where he teamed up with other list member, Jason Fertitta.

It was at Lehman that he realized he needed to specialize in energy if he was going to be in Houston. After all, his clients were high-net-worth families, mainly in the energy business, with 70% of them being executives or founders of companies in energy exploration, production or midstream, which includes energy infrastructure firms. "A large portion of their assets are in the energy business so, we're not going to build them an energy portfolio." Bollinger is continuing to expand his business, which is 70% fee-based. However, he says, "certainly, anytime the market becomes more volatile, we have to put new business building to the side to take care of existing clients. Communication has increased ten-fold." In fact, he says, "we have taken action at de-risking portfolios."

To new advisors he says: "You can't just learn the business on your own. You've got to apprentice ... Take as many senior people on the meetings and observe successful behavior. Pick a discipline and learn it extremely well."


— Frances McMorris

Jason Fertitta, 39*
Morgan Stanley PWM // Houston
$1.8 billion in assets

Jason Fertitta heard about J. Michael Bollinger before the latter ever stepped foot in the Lehman Brothers Houston office. "The branch manager showed me his resume and said he was trying to hire him. I said that's great." Fertitta liked Bollinger's Goldman Sachs pedigree and global experience. "We decided to team up." Bollinger is the asset allocation guy while Fertitta works on the product level. He specializes in hedge funds, private equity funds and he and Bollinger have their own master limited partnership managed at the team level. In addition, he says, "We've been looking really hard at royalty trusts." Fertitta not only meets with new asset managers he also looks for new clients because, as he says, he is "just wired that way. I like meeting new people." He believes wealthy clients today have more of a need to stay liquid are thinking globally.

— Frances McMorris

Gregory Hersch, 33
UBS // New York
$1.71 billion in assets

Gregory Hersch does not speak of listening to clients, consistency or excellent coworkers. Instead, he reels off a crisp, detailed analysis of world markets that could come from the lips of a Wall Street chief strategist. He cites the effects of the end of quantitative easing in June, and the performance of every major asset class, plus several minor ones. "Being positioned in the long end of the Treasury yield curve has been the best trade of the year," he says. "You could hide in high quality investment grade bonds, but with the spread over risk free rate at historical lows, the value proposition of having a huge overweight to investment grade credit was not particularly compelling to me." He sees himself as "an outsourced CFO for each of my clients." He has an expertise in alternative investments, and emphasizes estate planning for all of his clients. And, he only works with 35 families, and isn't looking to expand those numbers.

— Elizabeth Wine

Peter Princi, 35
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney // Boston
$1.52 billion in assets

"The simple stuff is killing clients with kindness," says Peter Princi, who has made this list for the past two years. About a year ago, he contacted all his clients who had children who were sophomores or juniors in college. "I used my network to get those kids internships. Eight out of 12 secured summer positions, most in the financial world and one at an animation company. "Even the four we didn't get internships for, the clients appreciated the fact that we went out of our way," he says. There are similar campaigns to help clients and their family members. Most of Princi's clients are business executives or business owners who built their wealth through real estate. Last year, he said he served more than 125 individual clients who have $1 million to $15 million in assets. They are focused on the long-term and preserving principal.

— Frances McMorris

David Lund, 37
Merrill Lynch // Grand Rapids, Mich.
$1.43 billion in assets

David Lund says his intellectual curiosity for finance was sparked while watching his father run his own business. While his father was very talented with engineering and sales, Lund says, he needed more help with finance. Lund set out to learn how people achieve and retain wealth, and ultimately found his career. Today, he has nabbed a spot on this list or the second year. He serves as a senior partner alongside another member of his nine-member team, which also includes four other advisors and two client support positions. He thinks of the team as a family, and his younger brother is really one of the team's advisors. The team works with corporations, predominantly public entities, on their equity awards. Through those relationships, executives have looked to Lund's team to handle their shares and compliance for that ownership. Those clients can range from senior executives to retired CEOs. 

— Lorie Konish

Kevin Scott, 38
Merrill Lynch // Los Angeles
$1.4 billion in assets

Kevin Scott was prompted to become a financial advisor from his technology sales position by his father, a veteran Merrill Lynch advisor, around 1998. "We were on a run down in Palm Desert. And he said, 'You really enjoy sales. You should consider getting into our business,'" Scott says. Today, Scott has nailed a spot on this list for the third time. Working with his father, Bill, and two client associates, Scott says having a multi-generational team is an advantage in working with their family clients. As the year winds down, the one theme Scott and his team are "being as proactive as we possibly can with picking up the phone." He adds: "Even better we always love to go visit a client in person." His team continues to emphasize high quality multi-national dividend paying stocks, particularly U.S. corporations doing business in countries such as Brazil, China and India. Scott says that about 45% of his business is fee-based.

— Lorie Konish

Gregory Cash, 35
Merrill Lynch // Charlotte, N.C.
$1.36 billion in assets

Gregory Cash says that joining a multi-generational team at Merrill Lynch has been invaluable for his career. He currently works with senior partner Charles Wickham Jr., who has been in the business for 50 years, and his son Mitchell. "Charlie would tell you, 'I made every mistake out there so these boys won't have to,'" Cash says. After graduating from Merrill Lynch's training program and then practicing for several years on his own, Cash met the father-son team he now works with when he worked down the hall from them. Now, their 11-person total team also includes two financial analysts, a banker and five client associates. The experience, Cash says, has led to his landing on this list for the third time. Today, the team's practice focuses on ultra-high-net-worth entrepreneurial families predominantly in the Southeast. Ninety percent of the team's business is fee-based.

— Lorie Konish

Daniel Rothenberg, 30
UBS // Los Angeles
$1.237 billion in assets

Daniel Rothenberg, who will turn 30 this month, owes his success to low cost and a transparent business model. While low fees and transparency matter to all clients, he thinks it matters especially to his main clientele: the committees who run corporate retirement plans and endowments. The endowment side has been covered by the Cambridge model of consulting: high fees and fees for the underlying funds. "In this environment, the market performance being negative, committees are focusing more and more on what they can control, which is expenses," he says. Because he builds portfolios for endowments, and designs a lineup of offerings for retirement plans—mutual funds are the product he uses predominantly. He estimates that 15% to 20% of his relationships are fee-based. Being an advisor allows him to use his economics degree, crunch numbers and use his relationship-building skills. "This is a perfect fit."

— Elizabeth Wine

Jesse Eaton, 39
Wells Fargo Advisors // New York City
$1.235 billion in assets

"Where do I want to be in 10 years?" asks Jesse Eaton. "The real answer is right here, doing the same as I've done for the past decade or more, keeping assets safe for clients and steering them through amazingly choppy seas," he says. The fantasy answer is, "hiking in New Zealand." Not so far fetched for someone who got into the advisory business on a whim. Eaton was an arts and entertainment reporter for the Nantucket Beacon in Massachusetts. But the paper folded in 1997. "On a lark, my friend and I moved to New York where his dad was a venture capitalist on Wall Street." The rest, they say, is history. After stints at Lebenthal and Co., Hambrecht & Quist and Lehman Bros., he landed at Wachovia in 2007, which is now Wells Fargo. Less than 5% of his business is fee-based. Eaton focuses on fixed income instruments for corporations, and wealth management for high-net-worth individuals.

— Judith Schoolman

Samir Murty, 33*
RBC Wealth Management // Eau Claire, Wis.
$1.2 billion in assets

Samir Murty says he believes in being "conservative, contrarian and tactical," when scoping out investments for his clients — medical professionals and owners of small to midsize businesses. One expression of conservatism is to concentrate on containing losses when the markets are roiling. On the contrarian point, he says, "When people are fearful, we are greedy; when people are greedy, we are fearful. There is always something undervalued in the market." For example, the team bought high-yield corporate bonds in December 2008, "because we thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime." Then they sold those holdings in March of this year and bought more of them again in September. His whole strategy is all about being tactical. But, one example of a tactical move, he says, is exercising the courage to deviate from core investments when opportunities arise. His practice has moved from 40% fee-based to 95%.

—Michelle Lodge

James Odorczuk, 38*
JP Morgan Securities // Boston
$1.2 billion in assets

James Odorczuk steers clear of traditional outsourcing models that many other financial advisors follow. He and his team prefer to be fully accountable for selecting equity and fixed income investments. "It resonates with clients," he explains, "that we take full responsibility for those decisions." He not only chooses specific securities, but may decide whether to participate in the market at all. That flexibility served him well over the past year, when he was under invested during some of the most volatile periods. "The goal is to protect the downside, even if we miss a little bit of profit," he notes. Odorczuk, whose business is more than 10% fee-based, blends a fundamental approach with an overlay of technical analysis. He recognized early in his career the importance of risk management, realizing that observing technical signals could him achieve that.

—Vanessa Drucker

Gregory Klenke, 37
UBS // Houston
$1.112 billion in assets

Greg Klenke attributes his success in the last year to the health of his clients: corporate America. After all, many of the nation's biggest companies notching record profits this year. Klenke and his team specialize in managing compensation programs for Fortune 500 companies, including restricted stock and stock options. In the course of carrying out those duties, the team also win corporate executives as clients. "Our general client has made the overwhelming majority of their wealth with company stock," he says. Much of the job with those clients is dealing with expiring options, liquidating large blocks of company stock, and diversifying their portfolios into non-correlated investments with low volatility. His tools include fixed income, commodities, currencies and alternatives. About 25% to 30% of his business is fee-based.

— Elizabeth Wine

Eric Snyder, 37*
Merrill Lynch // New York
$1.106 billion in assets

Looking back on the 14 years since Eric Snyder started his team financial advisory practice with college classmate Charles Balducci, Snyder says there have been some surprises. "I don't think that we would have anticipated that the markets would have been flat for 10 years," Snyder says. "Maybe [our success] could have been a little faster if we had had a good market environment in the interim." Even so, they have increased their assets under management, grown to a 10-person team and now, have landed on the Top 40 Under 40 list for the fourth time. Their client base includes corporate executives, entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers, private equity partners, investment bankers, traders and accounting firm partners. Eighty percent of the team's business is fee-based. They mostly work with managed money and focus on concentrated stock strategies for corporate executives or people that inherit single stock positions.

—Lorie Konish

Charles Balducci, 36*
Merrill Lynch // New York
$1.106 billion in assets

Charles Balducci can remember when signing new business was not easy when striking out as Merrill Lynch's youngest team with college friend and fraternity brother Eric Snyder.

"There were plenty of people who said, 'Why am I going to give money to a 23-year-old?'" he recalls. "There's only one way to overcome that. You can't get older any quicker, so you only make it up with hard work and volume." Today, about 14 years later, that has all changed. The last 15 prospective clients that they sat down with have all opened new accounts, he says. The team's internal communication also received a boost when they hired an outside consultant to help with process management and logistics about 18 months ago. "Our objective is to become one of the largest teams at Merrill, one of the most successful teams in the company," he says.

—Lorie Konish

Goran Bojovski, 31
Merrill Lynch // Edison, N.J.
$1.07 billion in assets

By working on a team that serves mostly corporate institutional clients, particularly with 401(k) plans, Goran Bojovski says he has the best of both worlds. That includes assets from the larger corporation clients, with the opportunity to serve their employees individually.

"It's an amazing experience," he says. "You're helping the people who really do need the help, the ones that typically are forgotten because their balances aren't at a certain level." For Bojovski's team, that means focusing on wellness. By evaluating a plan and how much its participants are contributing, taking advantage of a company match, taking loans and diversifying their portfolios, Bojovski can come up with a wellness score. His team then builds seminars and communication campaigns around the behaviors that need to be improved most. "Really it comes down to service, service, service," he says.

—Lorie Konish

Jack Riley, 35
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney // Morristown, N.J.
$830.2 million in assets

Jack Riley started out as a sales assistant 12 years ago and found two great mentors who explained the intricacies of financial planning and the importance of giving the client the "total Ritz Carlton experience." He credits his current success to having a bigger team. Before this year, they were working more as individuals each with their own client base. Now, there is better client coverage. If one advisor is traveling and his client needs help, a teammate steps in. Riley's team specializes in corporate suite executives, providing investment planning and equity compensation planning. They use outside experts for estate and accounting needs. His business is 35% fee-based, using separately managed accounts, exchange-traded funds, high quality fixed income, life and long-term care insurance. "There is long-term care insurance for the high-net-worth so we have really made that a focus of our business," he says.

— Frances McMorris

Jeffrey Bryan, 39
Merrill Lynch // New York
$814.3 million in assets

When Jeff Bryan, who made the Top 40 list for the third time, looks back on the past year, he says it has influenced client relationships both negatively and positively. Servicing clients is more challenging, while at the same time clients have become more open to advice. His team focuses on working with senior executives at publicly-traded companies and managing partners at hedge funds. The team's average client typically has about $35 million in investable assets. Much of what Bryan's 29-member team does for those clients is what he calls serving as their "financial quarterback." That includes running their investment portfolios, advising them on concentrated stock positions or dispositions of stock that is vesting or coming due, as well as distributions from hedge funds or private equity funds. "They really rely on us to create a framework for them to execute and make decisions around," he says.

—Lorie Konish

Jason Zaks, 37
Deutsche Bank // Winston Salem, N.C.
$708.0 million in assets

Jason Zaks believes that although everyone could use a break to succeed, it takes something extra. "The harder you work, the luckier you get," he says. This work ethic has served Zaks, who has landed on the Top 40 list for the third straight year. He makes it a goal to add several new clients each year, even if the market zigzags and even if it can take a decade to cultivate a new client. "Cultivating" means meeting prospects regularly over drinks, for a meal or a game of golf, staying in touch by phone and emailing and attending events the clients host or that are dear to their hearts. His clients are individuals, foundations, institutions and businesses, most of whom are in the Southeast, with some on the East Coast and as far west as Texas. His business is 90% fee-based. His clients' success means a hospital can buy a machine now that may save lives or a foundation can fund programs for a community at risk.

 —Michelle Lodge

Jason Goldstein, 30
Deutsche Bank // New York
$685 million in assets

Jason Goldstein, who will turn 30 this month, notes that he has to work especially hard with new clients, due to his relatively young age. He is among the youngest on our Top 40 Under 40 list. "With my age, it's difficult to gain client trust," he explains. "Age is wisdom in this industry." So, instead of fretting about any bias about his youth, he and his partner, Bobby Kolev, focus on servicing their clients at all times. Goldstein, the son of an accountant father and English teacher mother, began studying finance at his Marlboro, N.J., high school. After college he worked at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for two years and eventually landed at Lehman Brothers, where he met Kolev. The Lehman experience taught virtually everyone a very hard lesson, but Goldstein took what he learned to heart and applies it to his business to this day.

—Michelle Lodge

Bobby Kolev, 35
Deutsche Bank // New York
$685.0 million in assets

Being in perpetual motion may be one of the best training techniques for an advisor nowadays. Bobby Kolev agrees. He has been on the move for a chunk of his life, due to having a diplomat father who moved the family from their native Bulgaria to Austria, Czechoslovakia, Syria and Germany before settling in New York for a United Nations posting when Kolev was 18 and ready to enroll at Baruch. "I have a lot of experience with different cultures and backgrounds," he says. "That's what makes me successful." He is multilingual (he speaks English, Bulgarian, Russian and Arabic). In his professional life before joining Deutsche, Kolev sampled various financial institutions, including Oppenheimer, Lehman Brothers and Salomon Smith Barney. While Kolev maintains that "volatility creates opportunity," he and his partner of seven years, Jason Goldstein, realize that not every client views that as a good thing.

—Michelle Lodge

F. Michael Covey, 39
UBS // Chicago
$630.1 million in assets

F. Michael Covey III knows exactly why his team has had a good few years. "We really listened to our clients," he says. That listening led his team to focus on liquidity, and to steer clear of illiquid alternative investments. Covey sets global asset allocation and specializes in long-only equity managers within separately managed accounts, as well as commodity managers. (His partner, Thomas Kane, also one of the Top 40, handles hedge funds and private equity.) After a stint as a CPA auditor at Ernst & Young, he went to work for the Pritzker family office, where he managed global treasury functions and travelled internationally, "but I was always interested in the general investing environment." He joined one of his current partners at Lehman Brothers' private investment management division in 1999. In 2007 they moved their team to UBS Private Wealth Management. He works with about 60 families.

— Elizabeth Wine

Thomas Kane, 35
UBS // Chicago
$629.8 million in assets

Thomas Kane, chalks up his success in a turbulent year to "sticking to our knitting. We've been doing what we do for clients for a long time, and we didn't chase things that seem like good ideas in a volatile market, but focused on our core strategy of wealth preservation," he says.

His team uses a mix of equities, fixed income and alternative investments along with some tactical strategies. One of his partners is a full-time trader. That mix sets his team apart from others who "put out the asset allocation, close your eyes and hope it does well," he says. Kane is the alternative investments specialist, handling private equity and hedge funds. (His partner, F. Michael Covey III, is also one of this year's 40 under 40.) Kane also works to help connect clients, many of whom are private business owners, to the investment bank for needs like M&A opportunities and debt restructurings.

— Elizabeth Wine

Gray Camp, 38
Merrill Lynch // Jacksonville, Fla.
$627.3 million in assets

Gray Camp and his team emphasize preserving and creating income streams. His team is working to combat the conditions of market volatility and slow growth. That means advocating for a more active asset allocation and a higher emphasis on dividends and interest. The team recommends corporate bonds, equities with growing dividends, portfolio hedges, market-linked investments and higher cash allocations. His clients range from business owners to corporate executives, families and retirees. About half of his business is fee-based. He began working with Merrill Lynch ten years ago after completing his service with the U.S. Navy. To succeed, Camp says, it's necessary to constantly learn and read, not only about the markets and the economy, but also the cultural, historical and political conditions. "When we're standing in front of a prospective client or a current client, we need to be able to add to their thinking," he says.

 —Lorie Konish

Andrew Stern, 36
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney // New York
$622 million in assets

"You have to put blinders on to the day-to-day insanity and stick to your guns," says Andrew Stern, who along with his partner, Carrie Gallaway has made another appearance on this list. Stern believes that two factors have made all the difference to their business: "Being disciplined and maintaining a very high level of communications with our clients." Despite the financial crisis and lagging recovery, Stern's message to clients now is this: "The market is very resilient and has absorbed bad new and we are prime to have a strong run in the equity markets." So, Stern, whose business is about one-third fee-based, is encouraging his clients and examining large-caps stocks with strong balance sheets run by disciplined management teams with a history of dividend growth. He is also encouraging clients, many of whom are boomers, to look at their insurance needs, especially in the area of long-term care.

—Frances McMorris

Joshua Carter, 36
Merrill Lynch // San Francisco
$612.4 million in assets

Joshua Carter's family-focused advisory Practice embraces clients of all ages. Just recently, he spent an hour on the phone with the 20-year-old daughter of one of his clients for a full review of her $20,000 account. And during another family meeting with clients, he introduced basic investing concepts to a 9-year-old. "They looked at their parents' portfolio and said, 'Wow, mom and dad, you have too much of this one stock. We should sell some of that,'" Carter laughs. "We've been trying to convince them that for 20 years. They need to diversify." In working with about 30 families (many of them entrepreneurs), his 10-member team boasts a very high advisor-to-client ratio. The team includes five advisors as well as three investment analysts and two client associates. They specialize in discretionary asset management, alternative investments, derivatives, estate planning and fixed income. About 60% of the business is fee-based.

—Lorie Konish

Carrie Gallaway, 35
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney // New York
$611 million in assets

With the markets wildly fluctuating, "the one area we can control is service," says Carrie Gallaway, one of this year's repeat winners (along with her teammate Andrew Stern this year). That means "just calling clients, just really reaching out to people," she says. Referrals have increased a bit over last year, Gallaway says and she thinks it's because of that contact. "There's always somebody in the office who can respond to client needs. If there is a personal issue going on; if there is a death in the family, we always reach out to clients, send cards or go to the funeral." Currently Gallaway's team is trying to expand their family planning services for their high-net-worth individuals and families who are their clientele. Gallaway herself specializes in customizing asset allocations plans, educational and retirement plans and estate planning.

—Frances McMorris

Benjamin Cohen, 32
JP Morgan Securities // Chicago
$592 million in assets

Benjamin Cohen learned how to handle risk and uncertainty in an unusual setting. Before becoming an advisor with Bear Stearns in 2006, he performed as a professional actor, and realized that "every show ends and nothing is forever." He relates his theatrical experience to running a small business. Despite his artistic talents, Cohen always took an interest in business, and was "never content to be part of someone else's show." Even while performing on Broadway in Gypsy, he liked to sit in on the marketing and planning committees with the producers. Now he plans for his own clients, which span four generations, and include retirees, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, mechanics-and actors. He perceives a recent sea change, as fixed income products have swung back into popularity, and he scours the asset class for creative opportunities.

—Vanessa Drucker

Bryan Mountain, 36
UBS // Century City, Calif.
$580.8 million in assets

The arduous Ironman triathlon is a lot like investing, insists Bryan Mountain. "When you have a goal, you can't just show up on race day and expect to do well without having done the training," says the triathlete. "You have to follow a nutrition program; it's sticking to running, cycling and swimming schedules. It's what you do for months and months, and when you show up on race day, these things help you have a successful race. Slowly building this plan towards the race is the same way I go about my business." His team primarily uses mutual funds and ETFs to keep costs down and they steer clear of hedge funds and structured products because they want the ability to be nimble and move quickly in market volatility. Fascinated from a young age by the stock market, Mountain recalls his mother telling the story of his father reading the Wall Street Journal to them in the hospital the day he was born.

— Elizabeth Wine

Brad DeHond, 36
Morgan Stanley PWM // Chicago
$566 million in assets

Brad DeHond sees opportunity where others merely see distress. When the financial meltdown hit, he says, "we didn't panic and go to cash." Advisors who went that route saw "their clients get whipsawed and that's why we got a lot of business in 2009 and early 2010." Clients are still unnerved by the persistently high level of volatility. "The longer that persists, the more we're going to need to be talking to clients and keeping them as calm as possible," he says. DeHond, whose business is 90% fee-based, focuses on clients with more than $20 million in assets, mainly senior executives at publicly-traded companies or entrepreneurs who have sold their business. He and his partner analyze a client's balance sheet and try and create an appropriate asset allocation plan. But he says, the real secret to his success comes down to offering "a concise message that clients at all levels of sophistication can understand."

 —Frances McMorris

Christopher Purdue, 33
Wells Fargo Advisors // Florham Park, N.J.
$564.9 million in assets

About five years ago, it all clicked. Christopher Purdue has his father to thank. "He brought me along the right way, slowly and carefully. He never restricted who I could talk to but about five years ago our top level clients would call and ask for me. It was a great feeling for us both," Purdue says. He knew he would go into financial advising, and that he would work with William Purdue, who leads the Purdue Group. He joined Prudential Securities in 2000 where his dad was and during the bear market, acquired his father's conservative investment philosophy. About half of the Purdue Group's business involves union pension plans, union 401(k)s and corporate pensions. The rest is individual wealth management. About 65% is fee-based. "One thing my dad taught me was that no matter how much or little money you have, we're not going to blow you off."

 —Judith Schoolman

Jonathan Yolles, 37
Wells Fargo Advisors // Hartford, Conn.
$559.5 million in assets

Multiple-time 40-under-40 winner Jonathan Yolles had an eye-opening experience when he landed a college internship at a financial 'boiler room.' Then, he went across the street to Prudential and "saw what the business really was." Starting there right out of college, "It was love then and love today." Now as part of Goldberg, Yolles & LePore Consulting Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, he is managing director investments, with a fee-based business of about 90%. The group specializes in high-net-worth individuals and small businesses. "Why did we do so well in 2011? Referrals were strong and client retention was through the roof," Yolles says. "Our motto is to resolve issues before we get off the phone." As markets unraveled in August, his team called each of the 400 clients. "If you're not in contact with clients, someone else will be," he says.

 —Judith Schoolman

Anthony Jones, 35
Morgan Stanley PWM // San Francisco
$551.6 million in assets

Networking is second nature to Anthony Jones. His Stanford Business School connections have made all the difference. "I interviewed with a senior partner on my team who is also a Stanford alum." But he also describes his class of 372 students as "a highly motivated group of folks that tend to be very tight-knit." They support each other in their business endeavors. "For instance, if a client is interested in Chinese equities, it's relatively easy for me to pick up the phone and get a classmate or alum who has expertise in that field." For Jones, it means establishing "a global network of folks who are much smarter than I am." His former classmates have gone into various aspects of the financial profession from private equity to venture capital to hedge funds. "They try to identify new companies or existing companies that have the potential for growth." About 88% of his business is fee-based.

 —Frances McMorris

Donald Kinsey, 39
JP Morgan Securities // Houston
$550 million in assets

Even as a high school senior, Donald Kinsey was fascinated by Warren Buffett's classic, The Intelligent Investor. When Kinsey called Buffett's office to ask for a further reading list, the youngster received some free passes to the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders' meeting. As an adult, Kinsey worked for five years in investment banking at Bank of America. There, his experience ran the gamut, from public company spinoffs, mezzanine and high-yield debt financing and sale leasebacks, to M&A, distressed situations and equity infusions. "I'm now able to marry my early interest and love of investing with my corporate finance background," says Kinsey, whose business is 25% fee-based. He provides advice for ultra-high-net-worth families and family offices through strategies for trading equities and distressed debt and internal partnering with JPMorgan's investment and commercial banks.

—Vanessa Drucker

Carlos Ferrero Bonzon, 36
JP Morgan Securities // New York
$545.4 million in assets

How does it feel to receive $400,000 to manage at age 23? Carlos Bonzon began his career cold calling, targeted the largest accounts and immediately landed a $100 million client. A year later, he was managing $100 million himself. How has he successfully handled so much responsibility? "You should see all the hair I've lost!" he smiles. Bonzon, who currently serves 32 families, aims to expand to a maximum of 60. He emphasizes capital preservation for his wealthy client base. "Business owners want their money available whenever they need it," explains Bonzon, whose business is 15% fee-based. That means keeping close watch on cash management, whether in money market accounts, treasury bills or bank deposits. Over the past 13 years, Bonzon's career has taken him from Morgan Stanley in Miami, to Smith Barney in New York, through Lehman Brothers and Barclays, before joining JP Morgan last April.

—Vanessa Drucker

Mario Lamar, 37
JP Morgan Securities // New York
$545.4 million in assets

Mario Lamar services a select group of ultra-high-net-worth families, with typically $50 million or more in assets. Frequently, he will start a relationship by concentrating on a relatively small mandate, such as $3 million to $5 million. After demonstrating his abilities, he is likely to receive 50% of more of a client's assets to manage. One reward for looking after such a high-powered group is exposure to the expertise of his clients, like private equity financing, hedge funds and real estate owner operators. In the course of attending to their financial needs, Lamar has improved his knowledge of real estate investments in commercial, multifamily and industrial sectors. His overriding theme is capital preservation. So Lamar, whose business is 15% fee-based, takes a conservative approach, focusing on cash flow, and seeks out yield-oriented investments, including master limited partnerships and municipal bonds.

 —Vanessa Drucker

John Handley, 38
Wells Fargo Advisors // Victoria, Texas
$537.1 million in assets

In the small city of Victoria, Texas, population64,000,there's one man whose recipe for success has only three ingredients: do what's best, do your best and stay in the same place. "There's no secret sauce," says John Handley, who works primarily with Fortune 500 firms, handling their equity programs. His revenues are up about $1.6 million this year, because he's well known in his community. "I continue to have a good reputation in town. It's just me and there's a sense of continuity." In fact, when he "hit the 10 year mark in the business, instead of me calling people, people were now calling me."

 —Judith Schoolman

Eric Bickler, 36
UBS // White Plains, N.Y.
$530.4 million in assets

Eric Bickler credits his success over to "understanding the client on Day 1 from the profiling." Then comes the implementation phase, in which he builds a portfolio. "We don't do anything very exotic." About 60% of his business is fee-based, and he has two specialties: managing the restricted stock and stock options for corporations and senior executives.

— Elizabeth Wine

Richard Corcoran, 36
Morgan Stanley PWM // Penn.
$526 million in assets

Richard Corcoran has this bit of wisdom for new advisors: "I was taught growing up that you focus on your clients' interests first and foremost every single day. If you deliver than good things will come." So far it has for Corcoran, who started as an investment analyst before joining Morgan Stanley. "I have an awful lot of history with our clients," he says.

—Frances McMorris

*denotes tie