Raj Sharma, 49, a senior vice president and a private wealth advisor with the Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch in Boston, has been recognised for the third consecutive year as one of the best advisors in the nation by two prominent industry lists for Registered Rep and Research magazine.
The magazine said in an uncertain economic and financial climate, Sharma and his team, The Sharma Group, had helped clients chart a steady course and continue to reach financial goals.
Registered Rep, a preferred magazine for retail investment professionals, that bases its rankings on objective and subjective factors including production, assets under management and tenure at current firm, lauded Sharma as one of 'America's Top 50 Advisors,' meaning that he is among the 'finest high-end financial advisors,' and has gained the trust and respect of his clients at a time when clients are still unsure of the future, but their appetite for risk keeps steadily increasing.
Research Magazine, a top resource for retail investment professionals nationwide, ranked Sharma and his team in 'The Winner's Circle,' for Vertical Team Structures, illustrating that the group's goals, efforts and mission are unified as they collectively focus on helping clients build, preserve and distribute their wealth.
Douglas Revere, regional director for PBIG, said, "Being named to 'The Winner's Circle' and also as one of 'America's Top 50 Advisors,' is a tribute to the professionalism and dedication that Raj and The Sharma Group bring to their clients and our firm."
He said "Raj and his team serve as essential partners to managing their client's complex wealth management needs."
Sharma, who as a private wealth advisor, is among a select cadre of specially trained and accredited advisors at PBIG, told rediff.com, it was "absolutely terrific, great to be recognized" but said, given that the team members had expertise in a variety of financial areas, he would not be where he was had it not been for the other team members.
Sharma has been with Merrill Lynch for over 19 years. Along with his team, he manages more than $3 billion in assets from individuals and corporate clients.
"Basically, it's all about providing peace of mind. Our goal is to let our clients focus on their business and their lives - our job is to manage their financial affairs in an environment of trust, transparency and confidentiality. In effect, we are their outsourced, chief financial officer," he said.
Sharma said: "It's extremely gratifying when you help someone plan for a comfortable retirement, attain financial independence or witness a client's child attend college because of your support and guidance," and said his advice to the second generation, particularly to Indian Americans in his profession was to develop two key elements that should be intuitive -- "a genuine passion for the business and the ability to be an active listener."
Sharma complained that Indian Americans did not take to the financial services industry because, historically, they opted for engineering or science-oriented professions. But he had been noticing that those who do join tended to focus more on being an analyst or portfolio manager, rather than a wealth management advisor.
"I think wealth management is a promising, global growth business," he added. Sharma is an active member of the Boston community, serving on the board as co-chair of The Island Alliance, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the Boston harbor islands. He is also on the leadership council of the America India Foundation, a charter member of The Indus Entrepreneurs, and a member of the board of overseers of the Boston Museum of Science.
He is an alumnus of Osmania University in Andhra Pradesh, India, and, after coming to the US in 1980, attended Emerson College in Boston, studying communications, media and film.
He spent seven years in India, working as a DJ for the All India Radio network, and spent another six years in Boston and New York working for various agencies on video and film projects.
He then went into studying financial services and management and earned advanced investment and management degrees from INSEAD, France, and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
Besides Registered Rep and Research magazine, Sharma has also been featured in Boston, Money, and Barron's.
He lives in Sharon, Massachusetts, with his wife Nalini and their four children - Meara, 18, a freshman at Brown University, Neil, 15, Jay, 12, and Tara, 8.