In 2008, Reuters recognized Ajay Gupta as one of America’s top 100 financial advisors.
He acts as the personal CFO of some 100 local families with most having assets of $5 million plus. His specialty is guiding his clients in their investment management; retirement income planning; trust-estate-and-philanthropic strategies; and lending and liability management.
When the current financial meltdown began, virtually everyone with investments was affected, including some of Gupta’s clients.
Gupta recalls “During the eye of the financial meltdown, when all of the media was reporting fear and panic, I received a call on my cell phone from a personal friend [and client] Dr. Deepak Chopra, the world renowned author and physician.
“He was calling from mid-town Manhattan while on his way to being filmed on the Larry King Live Show to let me know that he was not worried about everything that was going on; he was very appreciative of all that our team was doing for him; and a little bit of uncertainty is always a good thing for the world.”
Gupta said he often learns from his clients.
The 38-year-old financial adviser acknowledges that “2008 was a difficult year for anyone out there with savings and nobody wants to see 2008 repeated that’s for sure.”
Despite the turmoil, Gupta said, his practice has grown. His clients said they were appreciative of how his team steered them through the crisis in 2008 “relative to what they are hearing out there” and have continued to refer new clients to his group.
“They look to us to protect, preserve and enhance” their wealth, Gupta said.
After studying economics for two years at Champlain College and earning a bachelor of commerce degree in finance in 1995 from Concordia University in Montreal, Guptajoined Midland Walwyn stock brokerage, later acquired by Merrill Lynch, as a stock broker/financial advisor in 1996.
On a fast track with Merrill Lynch, Gupta spent a few years building a successful and lucrative practice in Montreal. After a visit to San Diego, he sold his Montreal practice and in 2000 joined Merrill Lynch in downtown San Diego.
By 2008 he was generating $2.8 million and was overseeing client assets of $308 million.
Concurrently, he completed his Certified Investment Management Analyst designation from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 2006 and completed the Private Equity and Venture Capital (PEVC) program at the Harvard Business School in 2007.
Asked where we are in the current recession cycle, Gupta ventured “Good question. I’m hoping that we are closer to the end than the beginning. But we are still being very defensive. I’d rather leave a little bit of growth on the table… There are still a lot of unknowns out there and we’re being cautious. “No predictions,” he stated. “Other than in this type of environment, it makes sense to be more protective towards wealth. Preservation is definitely our focus right now.”
Gupta is currently writing a book with a working title of The Seven Biggest Mistakes Multi-Millionaires Make with their Finances.