No. 34: Jonathan Yolles

Firm: Wells Fargo

AUM: $603.66 million

Location: Hartford, Conn.

Age: 37

Note: This profile is part of a special series devoted to On Wall Street’s Top 40 Under 40 ranking for 2012. Every day we take a look at an advisor who made the list to find out the secrets of their success.

For Jonathan Yolles, providing financial advice has been a family affair. “My father and an uncle were in this business,” he says, “so I heard the conversations growing up. And my first client was a distant cousin.”

Still, Yolles wasn’t always sure he wanted to be a financial advisor. “I didn’t know until I was a sophomore in college,” he says. “I walked into a classroom and saw a supply-and-demand curve on the blackboard. It was like seeing it in 3D–I knew I wanted a career dealing with those kinds of issues, so I changed my major from business management to economics. Eventually, I went to work with a major brokerage firm.”

At that firm, Yolles was “hitting the phones,” as he puts it, when he reached that distant cousin. “He gave me a small amount to manage, to begin with, and that grew to a larger account,” he says.

Yolles’ role has gotten larger, too, as he has become more involved with all aspects of clients’ lives. “My partner, Gerald Goldberg, handles institutional consulting while I’m responsible for private client activities,” Yolles says. “When I’m with clients, we’ll discuss things like buying a car or buying a house with them, and whether there are family members they want to help out.”

Retirement planning is vital, even for relatively young clients. “I met recently with a married couple we’re advising,” Yolles recalls. “They run a small business and they’re planning to sell the company because they have an offer they believe is too good to pass up.”

This couple is in their early 50s, so Yolles asked what they plan to do once they’re no longer in the business. “I told them I doubted they’d want to sit around on the couch all day,” he said. “They thought they’d travel a lot, but they really hadn’t spent much time thinking it through. We had a conversation and we’ll probably discuss it again in the future. Our focus is on helping our clients meet their goals.”