B. Riley Financial Advisor Q&A Series: David Gurievsky, Independent Financial Advisor
David Gurievsky is a Florida-based independent advisor with B. Riley Wealth Management who is focused on helping his clients retire comfortably. His aptitude for relationship-building has kept him at the top of his game for more than thirty years. When he’s not managing his busy wealth management practice, he enjoys following his beloved New Orleans Saints. Read on to learn more about David and how he maintains his passion for managing clients’ financial futures.
How did you end up in the wealth management business?
When I finished college, I initially considered sales, but wealth management fascinated me because I wanted a business in which I had a genuine interest. As a young child, following the market in the papers excited me, and so I chose to carry that excitement into wealth management. It’s a good fit for me and my personality; I’m competitive, regimented and determined, and that’s what separates me as an entrepreneurial financial advisor. Even to this day, every day is exciting and new. I love finding creative ways to help people reach their goals.
What’s changed in the business, and how do you perceive the changes that have taken place in the wealth management industry over the past 5-10 years?
There has been tremendous, prolonged change and dislocation in the industry, and it’s going to continue. Asset management has become much more competitive because of technology. Everything is more visible because it happens in real-time and investors have immediate access to accounts, results and insights. Where years ago, emphasis was placed on execution, what’s important now are relationships, partnering, and how to use various technological tools. Wealth management is far more consultative than transactional.
What are your thoughts on the technological advancements the industry has seen in recent years?
Access to information has increased transparency for investors, which is great. Dissemination of information has also created an opportunity for experienced people to net a lot of assets. If your business is scalable and you can target the right audience, you can uncover a lot of prospective clients who need guidance with things like recent inheritances. The caveat: you need a wealth of experience and knowledge to translate things to people and help them understand what they can do with those assets.
A major challenge of widespread information, though, is that clients now feel emboldened to make financial decisions based on whatever they’re reading on the Internet. The results can be devastating if they’re not careful. Though we’ve been in a bull market for ten years, people don’t realize the types of risks they’re taking until it’s too late. As a financial advisor, it’s important to know how your investors are thinking so you can guide them in making sound decisions.
What aspects of wealth management interest you the most?
I am most intrigued by managing generational wealth, assisting clients, tax attorneys and accountants with estate planning, and doing my best to help ensure my clients are financially solvent well into retirement. That’s my focus. What fascinates me is assisting clients with handling money that is above and beyond what they need, as many are heads of households or businesses.
Succession planning is also a large part of what I do, and how that relates to investment advisory excites me. Life happens; clients may take in a parent, or get sick, and they want to know quickly how that may affect them when they need to make decisions.
What areas do you see currently as the greatest opportunity for success in the wealth management business?
The biggest upside at the moment is the imminent Great Wealth Transfer from baby boomers to millennials. There will be trillions of dollars moving across institutions, and there may be a lot of people who are unsure of how to handle a windfall. The opportunity is in finding those people who need help managing their money. Of course, networking provides huge opportunities. Relationship building is critical. If I can get a lunch meeting with a prospective client, it’s likely that they’ll walk away trusting me to help prepare for their financial future. It’s not about the transaction, it’s about the relationship.
What excited you about joining B. Riley Wealth Management?
When I joined the firm, I had a lot of good things happening in my business and I wanted to be around my family. My practice had transitioned to advisory and retirement planning, and as an independent entrepreneur I needed the ability to set my own schedule. B. Riley Wealth Management gives me the flexibility to spend time meeting clients and prospects face to face. Perhaps what I love most are the people I work with. They are dependable and they truly care about me and my business. Over time, not only have they become trusted colleagues, but also friends.
What distinguishes B. Riley Wealth Management as a great place to work?
B. Riley Wealth Management is great because independents have the flexibility to work with clients in a way that allows them to see immediate results. That freedom is great, as it allows me to pursue business the way I want to pursue it. I’m not boxed in, and my payout is not determined by what types of products I use or how many I buy. What’s most important is what’s best for my clients based on their risk tolerance.
The firm also has a ton of tools and assets; B. Riley Wealth Management offers big firm tools with a boutique culture. We have access to heads of small cap business, and we have capabilities that can help us guide businesses in taking next steps before larger firms may look at them. I can call executives that will actually get back to me with the answers I need quickly. Not having to go through multiple channels and wait days for decisions makes a huge difference for me, and it greatly benefits my clients.
Is there any advice you would give to a young financial advisor just starting out in this business?
As a younger financial advisor, if you join a big team and network, you become seasoned and can make your own way. Differentiate yourself and communicate well. That’s where the opportunity is, and that’s where financial advisors have a competitive edge. Wealth management is a science as much as it is an art form. As this business is constantly changing, financial advisors must change with it.
From the perspective of a generational wealth manager, get to know your clients’ kids as early in the process as possible. If you’re successful in building that relationship and gaining their trust, it’s much more likely they’ll want to retain you as their advisor when assets are transferred to them.