No. 32: Carrie Gallaway

Firm: Morgan Stanley

AUM: $607.78 million

Location: New York

Age: 36

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.

There are differences in how women and men approach working as financial advisors, according to Carrie Gallaway. “Women tend to have a different degree of empathy,” she says, “and a different way to organize things. Men, on the other hand, may be naturally more successful in promoting themselves.”

Gallaway thus tends to de-emphasize self-promotion and instead focus on empathy and organization to attract and keep clients. “Being able to listen is vital,” she says. “I’ve had prospects who have known me for years, talking about their spouse, their children, even their parents. By listening, I’ve learned what’s important, such as an income payout to an elderly mother. Some of those prospects have become good clients, trusting me to take care of themselves and their loved ones financially.”

Although Gallaway began her career in portfolio construction, this empathetic bent has led to her role as a financial advisor. “I like working with people,” Gallaway says, “having direct contact with clients. Every day brings new challenges and surprises, so you need to be flexible.”

Gallaway’s CFP designation also signals how her practice has evolved since she first became an advisor. “We were stock pickers,” she says, “but now we’re in wealth management mode. We cover everything from retirement planning to building a fund for higher education to insurance to distribution planning. That’s what makes it interesting; the fact we offer all this service makes us interesting, and helps us retain our clients.”

In late 2012, many of Gallaway’s clients have felt challenged by political uncertainty and all the talk about the fiscal cliff. “We’ve been holding people’s hands more, walking them through all the options,” Gallaway says. “Many of our clients want to know if they should take gains this year, for instance.”

Clients who’ll need cash in 2013 might consider selling assets now, to raise money to pay the anticipated expenses. “Tax rates are relatively low and the market is up,” Gallaway says, “so this may be a good time to sell. On the other hand, clients with long-term investment motives might want to hold on, instead of selling something just to buy it back.”