Robertson Stephens Names Ron Resnick as Chief Operating Officer of Robertson Stephens Asset Management

Robertson Stephens, a global investment advisory firm for high net worth individuals, family offices, institutions and corporations, announced today that Ron Resnick is joining as Chief Operating Officer of Robertson Stephens Asset Management LLC (“RSAM”), a subsidiary of Robertson Stephens. He is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Mr. Resnick will be responsible for the oversight of administration, operations and legal activities for RSAM.

Mr. Resnick is a 25-year veteran in managing alternative assets platforms. He co-founded CounselWorks LLC, a consulting company providing business strategy and regulatory advice to hedge funds, private equity firms, investment advisers and broker-dealers, which was sold to Duff & Phelps. Prior to starting CounselWorks he was a Managing Partner and the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of Highbridge Capital Management, where he launched over twenty hedge funds and was instrumental in building Highbridge into a $16 billion private global alternative before negotiating its sale to JP Morgan Asset Management Holdings for $1.4 billion. 


New World Orders, Part II

By Jeanette Garretty, Robertson Stephens Advisors

In 1966, Buffalo Springfield hit the charts with “For What It’s Worth,” which became something of an anthem for its time, the beginning of an era of tremendous demographic, social and economic change:

“There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look—what’s going down?

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speakin’ their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look—what’s going down?”

The baby-boomers are now doing it again, throwing out the old order without a clear sense of where the new order will take them. That’s not a criticism, but a fair statement about disruptive change in general. If the change is truly earthshaking, one can never be entirely sure where the tsunami will hit, when the tectonic plates will shift next, when the ground will stop shuddering.

Paul Krugman in this morning’s New York Times offers up a long view that is as apocalyptic as what must have been the view to some in 1966. “We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.” He qualifies this – all good economists know to qualify their forecasts, and this is a Nobel Prize-winning one – by saying, “I suppose we could get lucky somehow.” An alternative view that still gives ample due to Dr. Krugman’s concerns about free trade, globalization and debt is one that sees change in a more positive light. With change there is opportunity, albeit at sometimes-considerable cost. For that reason, opportunity is a challenge, a gauntlet thrown down, waiting to be picked up.

At whose feet do those gauntlets lie this November morning, fifty years after Buffalo Springfield’s clarion call?


Robertson Stephens Accelerates the Transformation of Private Stock Financing with Addition of Venture Debt Veteran and Announces Robertson Stephens Liquidity Fund III

Robertson Stephens, a global wealth investment advisory firm for high net worth individuals, family offices, institutions and corporations, today named Robert Pitti as Managing Director to Robertson Stephens Asset Management LLC [RSAM], a subsidiary of Robertson Stephens. Continuing Robertson Stephens' legacy of supporting Silicon Valley’s innovators, Mr. Pitti will lead an experienced team to provide financing to shareholders of leading venture-backed companies secured only by their shares. RSAM’s fund is a tax-efficient solution for employees of growth-stage companies looking to exercise options or generate liquidity for personal use. Working closely with company management, the team’s goal is to satisfy employee liquidity needs without having to sell shares in a manner that conforms with the organization’s shareholder agreements.


Real Estate Strikes Out on Its Own in the Stock Indexes

By Paul Sullivan, The New York Times

“I’d be surprised to see what some people have talked about, that there will be much more money going in,” said Jeanette Garretty, managing director at Robertson Stephens in San Francisco. “It may be a situation of money moving away from the banking sector and following the REITs, so it looks like more money going to REITs.”

Mr. Mazza of State Street said the data showed that this is already happening. From the beginning of the year to the end of July, $6.1 billion has left financial exchange-traded funds and $6.6 billion has gone into real estate ones.

New money going into REITs, Ms. Garretty said, could come from less sophisticated investors. “For most professional managers, I’d be surprised if it’s going to change their behavior much,” she said. “But with the ongoing growth of index investing, it may lead to more individuals running their own portfolios putting money into REITs because there’s a real estate index.”


As The British Go To The Polls

By Jeanette Garretty, Robertson Stephens Advisors

So much has been written about Brexit that anything additional probably serves no purpose
other than to make the wall of noise louder, more gaudy, more obnoxious. Whatever the voting
result, post mortems will be equally abundant and just as confusing, only somewhat more so
in the case of a win by the “Leave” campaign, as this is really a jump into the great unknown.

Much of what I have been watching and reading makes me think of Daniel Kahneman, the
brilliant author of the 2011 book Thinking Fast and Slow. One of the key premises of
Kahneman’s work is that the human brain utilizes two distinctly different modes of thought,
emanating from different parts of the brain. The System 1 mode is fast, emotional and given
to relying on “rules of thumb” and “gut reaction.” The System 2 mode is more careful,
thoughtful, analytical and slow. System 1 thinking requires less expenditure of energy and
therefore, we being rational people, will be favored over the more energy intensive System 2
thinking. And, oh, by the way, when we “multi-task” we are not running two (or three or four)
parallel processing systems in our brain but rather we are shifting frantically back and forth
between System 1 thinking and System 2 thinking. No wonder that multi-tasking is more
difficult to execute when we are tired, or over extended periods of time.


Negative Feelings Over Negative Interest Rates

By Jeanette Garretty, Robertson Stephens Advisors

Negative interest rates are back in the news with the very vocal protest by Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) over the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy. Currently, Japanese Government Bonds are yielding -0.12% and the Bank of Japan has discussed lowering that yield to –0.3%; BTMU has threatened to pull out of the consortium of Japanese banks serving as primary dealers in these bonds. It should be noted that such an action would have a minor-to-nonexistent impact on the market for Japanese Government Bonds and/or the Bank of Japan’s ability to market those bonds. Nevertheless, the announcement by BTMU brings to the fore, once again, the question of what can be achieved with negative interest rates and whether the unintended consequences mitigate any possible benefits.


Here We Go Again

By Jeanette Garretty, Robertson Stephens Advisors

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen spoke at today’s World Affairs Council of Philadelphia meeting and sent U.S. market commentators back into full “Will They (& When)/Won’t They” mode. By omitting a phrase - “in coming months” - that had been used a month ago while discussing likely interest rate hikes in 2016, she both reassured the financial markets that the Federal Reserve would be very careful in raising rates and possibly confused equity markets as to the real health of the U.S. economy. The timing of this change in verbiage seems to give more weight than most economists are willing to ascribe to last Friday’s rather puzzling jobs report showing only a net 38,000 jobs created in May. Such a sharp fall in job creation and labor force participation is almost certainly attributable to faulty seasonal adjustments in the Department of Labor survey, as well as special factors like the Verizon strike (now ended), as opposed to a sudden weakening in US economic prospects. And yet the jobs report appears to have pushed the Federal Reserve to signal to everyone, once again, that they remain heavily data-dependent in decisions regarding interest rates - and no data is more important that labor market data.

I am hard-pressed to find much economic or monetary theory in much of the interest rate commentary these days, be it from the Fed or from its horde of Fed-watchers. The cartoon below might be just as useful as anything else.

"A History of the Fed Funds Rate Since 1979" Cartoon by Bob Rich from Hedgeye.

The Department of Labor Ruling: The "Ethical" Struggle in the Investment Industry

By Ron Florance, Senior Strategic Consultant, Robertson Stephens

The Department of Labor has created lots of chatter about the ethics of the investment industry. Their recent ruling on using the fiduciary standard for investment professionals has heated up a conversation that has been smoldering for some time. I would like to put this all in perspective.

What is ethics? It is actually a branch of philosophy that studies right and wrong conduct. Doing the “ethical” thing is about doing what is “right,” not what you can “get away with.” A good way to start an ethical analysis is by using The Golden Rule. Many in our society associate The Golden Rule with recent religious guidance, but it has been around far longer than that. As early as 2000 BC, Egyptian mythology included the concept of “do to the doer to cause that he thus to you.” In 1993, the Parliament of the World’s Religions issued a declaration towards global ethics stating that “we must treat others as we wish others to treat us.” That is a pretty good place to start.

The ethical struggle in the investment industry is between two standards: The Suitability Standard and the Fiduciary Standard. While these two standards are long and complex, let me try to simplify the differences. Suitability is based on the concept that an advisor must recommend investments that are “reasonably suitable for a client.” Fiduciary is based on the concept that an advisor must “act in the best interest of the client.” Why is there even an argument about this?

In Suitability, an advisor can recommend an investment, knowing that is “suitable” but maybe not in the client’s best interest. No wonder our industry is hated. Suitability standards apply to most broker-dealers that are regulated by FINRA. The Fiduciary Standard requires advisors to disclose all potential conflicts of interest and put the client’s interest in front of their own. The Fiduciary standard applies to RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors), Trust departments and fee based investment advisors.

The recent DOL ruling required all advisors working with retirement assets (401(k)s and IRAs) to use the Fiduciary Standard. This was a good idea for the $12 trillion in these accounts. And what about the other $55 trillion in financial assets held by US consumers? Unfortunately, by the time the ruling came out, the lobbyist had watered it down to the detriment of investors. Concessions included pushing back the implementation date for explicit disclosures on the costs of products and relaxed restrictions on annuities and proprietary products. That is too bad, but at least the main emphasis of client protections are in place.

As I talk to investors, most are not even aware of the two different ethical standards. They are unaware that by choosing one advisor over another, they may actually be choosing between different business ethics that can significantly impact their investment experience. Everyone in the industry, including professionals and regulators, needs to help educate investors about this reality.

There are professional designations that emphasize ethics for investment professionals. Both the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and CTFA (Certified Trust and Financial Advisor) have ethics sections in their curriculum that go well beyond the required regulatory landscape. That is a great thing. Employers and investors should reward advisors that show this level of commitment to their profession. These industry groups should be more vocal about the benefits that these designations bring to investors.

Firms that follow the Fiduciary Standard need to be more vocal about their business approach of putting the needs of their clients above all else. Regulators need to stop being unduly influenced by self-interested lobbyists and start being influenced by the needs of investors they are hired to protect. The industry needs to promote higher ethical standards through professional designations that emphasize ethical behavior.

And finally, investors need to step up as well. When talking to potential advisor, they need to ask “do you follow the Fiduciary Standard by acting in my best interest?” If the answer is no, ask why.

Let’s all treat others as we wish to be treated.

Preston DuFauchard Appointed General Counsel at Robertson Stephens

Robertson Stephens, a global investment advisory firm for high net worth individuals, family offices, institutions and corporations, announced today that Preston DuFauchard is joining as general counsel. He will lead the firm’s global legal affairs and compliance operations.

Mr. DuFauchard was the California Corporations Commissioner from 2006 until 2011. There he led a 300-person agency charged with regulation and enforcement of state securities laws, franchise investment laws and lending laws for non-depository institutions. As Commissioner, Mr. DuFauchard coordinated with other states in regulatory examinations and enforcement actions and also worked with FINRA, the SEC and the CFPB.

“Preston is one of the most well-respected and experienced regulatory and policy lawyers in the country,” said Joe Piazza, Chairman and CEO of Robertson Stephens. “His expertise, particularly with broker dealers, investment advisers and lending institutions will materially enhance our firm’s growth agenda.”

Prior to his role as Commissioner, Mr. DuFauchard was in-house counsel for Bank of America, N.A. from 1997-2006 in the Litigation Department advising on securities matters, including merger litigation, underwriter litigation, prime broker operations, loan syndications and the Bank’s venture capital operations. He began his career and became a partner with the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP, where he was a trial attorney in large civil cases. Mr. DuFauchard holds a juris doctor from the University of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Stanford University.

“I am honored to have the trust of Joe Piazza, and to help create his vision for a preeminent and respected advisory firm,” said Mr. DuFauchard.

Robertson Stephens Expands Investment Management Group

Robertson Stephens, a global wealth advisory and investment management firm for high net worth individuals, family offices, institutions and corporations, today announced four new hires. Gordon Fallone, Jim Kozak and Wesley Gordon have been named Managing Directors and Dan Barth has been named Operations Manager. They will report to Ren Riley, President, Robertson Stephens Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Robertson Stephens LLC.

Robertson Stephens Partners provides strategic capital to entrepreneurial clients to help grow their businesses and manage their liquidity needs at the corporate and individual level. The team will focus on direct investment opportunities in next generation companies. “The venture capital business is as much about personal relationships as finding the unicorns. Gordon and Jim have spent over a decade introducing clients to private investment opportunities and establishing a network of trusted innovators,” said Mr. Riley. “The team’s addition extends our initiative to continue Robertson Stephens' legacy of connecting investors to dynamic, emerging growth companies.”

“We immediately recognized the opportunity to take advantage of the legacy, platform and leadership that Joe Piazza [Chairman and CEO of the parent company Robertson Stephens] and Ren Riley provide,” said Mr. Fallone. “We believe there is an unprecedented opportunity to create an access point for high net worth and family office investors to evaluate and invest in top tier venture backed private companies. With these companies staying private longer, the ability to evaluate and participate in them is becoming a critical part of any serious investor’s growth strategy.”

Prior to Robertson Stephens, Mr. Fallone was a Managing Director at ROTH Capital Partners where he led the venture group through private company finance for Allegiance, Gazillion, Revel Systems, Soasta, Smule, Liquidspace, SellPoints, Sunbasket, and TaskRabbit. He serves as an observer or active Board member at SellPoints, LiquidSpace, Connected Data, Sunbasket and TaskRabbit. He holds a BS Honors Scholar degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut.

Jim Kozak was most recently Managing Director at ROTH Capital Partners where he ran the capital markets and fundraising efforts for companies such as Revel Systems, Smule, Sun Basket, LiquidSpace, Soasta, Allegiance, Gazillion, SellPoints and TaskRabbit. He holds a BA in Business Management from Ripon College. 

Wesley Gordon was also a Managing Director at ROTH Capital Partners where he headed the New York office for the Venture Finance Group. He earned a BA in English from Colgate University.

Mr. Barth began his career as a financial analyst at Aon Hewitt before joining ROTH Capital Partners as an Associate. He holds a BA in Economics from DePauw University. 

"We have worked with Gordon and Jim's team twice and couldn't be bigger fans of their model. The venture capital ecosystem has been missing an alternative financing resource that truly understands the landscape and the priorities of fast growing start-ups like Sunbasket,” said Adam Zbar, CEO of Sunbasket. “The decision to make the move to a platform like Robertson Stephens allows them to amplify their impact and I couldn't be more excited for them."

Alice Wu Joins Robertson Stephens in San Francisco as Managing Director and President of Asia Region

SAN FRANCISCO, January 12, 2016 — Robertson Stephens, a global wealth advisory and investment management firm for high net worth individuals, family offices, institutions and corporations, announced today that Alice Wu has been named Managing Director of Robertson Stephens Advisors LLC and President – Asia Region.

Prior to joining Robertson Stephens, Ms. Wu was a Vice President with Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC in San Francisco. She advised wealthy Chinese individuals and families in the United States as well as provided institutional-level customized financial solutions to her clients in Asia. Before Credit Suisse, Ms. Wu was with Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management in San Francisco.

In addition to her successful career in financial services, Ms. Wu was an Associate Director at The Asia Foundation advising trustees and donors on their philanthropic activities in Asia. Before receiving her MBA degree, Ms. Wu had a career in public health working at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she conducted bio-statistical analyses and co-authored research articles in medical journals.

Ms. Wu has earned two master’s degrees, one in Business Administration from New York University and another in Public Health from Boston University. Her Bachelor of Science is from National Taiwan University.

“We have long planned to develop a major presence in Asia, as well as with Asian investors in the United States. Alice will spearhead our business in both of these important markets,” said Joe Piazza, Chairman and CEO of Robertson Stephens. “Moreover, I love Alice’s depth and breadth of experience; it speaks to our culture at Robertson Stephens. She is super-smart, thoughtful and a citizen of the world,” added Piazza.

“I am honored and excited to join Robertson Stephens,” said Ms. Wu. “Having lived many years in both Asia and in the U.S., I have an intimate understanding of the different cultures. Moreover, I have helped clients develop wealth management strategies with a global perspective and a cultural sensitivity for over a decade. Looking beyond the differences, I believe that many core values are universal: integrity, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and the ability to enjoy the journey. The leadership at Robertson Stephens share these same values which attracted me to the firm; along with the first class investment platform. I want these to be the same reasons why clients choose us to be their advisors and partners.”

Make These Financial Moves As New Year Begins, Advisors Say


We asked Jeanette Garretty, a managing director at Robertson Stephens Advisors, a San Francisco-based registered investment advisor that has $1 billion in assets under management, and Bentley Blackmon, managing director of Stephens, a Little Rock, Ark., investment bank with $25 billion in assets under management, what adjustments investors need to make to get on track for financial success.


Susan Reese Joins Robertson Stephens as Managing Director in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, November 4, 2015 — Robertson Stephens, a wealth advisory and investment management firm for high net worth individuals, family offices, institutions and corporations, announced today that Susan Reese has been named Managing Director of Robertson Stephens Advisors LLC.

Prior to joining Robertson Stephens, Ms. Reese spent the last decade at Ayco, a Goldman Sachs Company, as an Investment Professional and Vice President where she managed nearly $2 billion in client assets. She will continue her focus of working with active and retired high-net worth C-suite executives on their investments and customized portfolios while considering tax, estate, and philanthropic goals. Ms. Reese specializes in monetizing large single stock positions and the diversified investment of the proceeds to meet families’ long term financial objectives.

“Robertson Stephens has had substantial growth in the past few years. Susan will be an instrumental part of our future growth and success, not just on the West Coast, but in other important regions in the United States. She comes to us from a high-performance culture like our own, and she is a professional who cares a great deal about her clients and their well being. Susan has developed strong, long-lasting relationships which are the cornerstone of our firm’s culture,” said Joseph Piazza, Chairman and CEO, to whom Reese will report. “Moreover, her diverse background across finance and academia and her commitment to mentoring the next generation of wealth advisors will be an extraordinary asset to our clients and her fellow partners. Having a person of Susan’s caliber join us is a terrific win for our firm,” added Piazza.

Prior to her tenure at Goldman Sachs, Ms. Reese taught Geometry and Calculus at The Albany Academies in New York. Before teaching, Ms. Reese worked for General Electric for nine years in various leadership and engineering positions, including managing capital project investments in three countries. She received a Master’s in Finance from the London Business School, where she concentrated in Equity Investment Management and International Markets. She holds a MS in Manufacturing Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BS with Great Distinction in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University. She is a former member of the London Business School International Alumni Board.

“Robertson Stephens appealed to me because of the open architecture platform, investment and fee transparency, and commitment to a high level of personalized service. This allows for a small firm feel with big firm capabilities. In addition, the reporting capabilities of Addepar will greatly enhance the client experience,” said Ms. Reese. “I find it immensely rewarding to help clients with changes they experience throughout their personal and professional lives and Robertson Stephens is the ideal place to service them through their transitions.”

Robertson Stephens Names Managing Director to Newly Established Subsidiary, Robertson Stephens Partners LLC

SAN FRANCISCO, October 14, 2015 — Robertson Stephens, a wealth advisory and investment management firm for high net worth individuals and families, announced today that Vince Conrad has been named Managing Director of Robertson Stephens Partners LLC (RSP). Leveraging his capital markets experience, Mr. Conrad’s focus will be orchestrating liquidity solutions for private and public high growth companies at various stages of their business development. In addition, he will be raising institutional money for alternative funds on the Robertson Stephens platform.
Through his 20 plus years of capital markets experience, Mr. Conrad has built multiple platforms serving both public and private issuers as well as financial sponsors. His emphases include: SaaS, Data Center Infrastructure, Mobile, Internet Security, Consumer Internet Services, Healthcare IT and Traditional and Alternative Energy.

“We are very excited to have Vince join Robertson Stephens. He’s hard working, diligent and a team player; he creates positive energy in the firm. He has years of relevant experience and is highly respected among our peers,” said Joe Piazza, Chairman and CEO. “In the years to come, I think Robertson Stephens, with Vince’s involvement at a senior level, can be a dominant participant in the investment in and distribution of shares of private companies,” added Piazza.

“Vince has connected countless senior management teams with qualified institutional investors across multiple industries,” said Ren Riley, President of Robertson Stephens Partners. “Vince will spearhead an important new initiative for RSP; first by developing relationships with emerging companies, and second, the liquidity he’s helping to create fuels our core wealth management platform. Vince’s influence provides a valuable network effect for our clients and reestablishes the firm’s strong reputation in the private company market.”

Mr. Conrad has over a decade in research and sales for both bulge bracket and middle market institutional investment banks. He was previously Director of Corporate Access for BTIG LLC and JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC, as well as Director of Institutional Markets for Credit Suisse First Boston serving institutional clients across North America, Europe and South Africa. Early in his career, Mr. Conrad led the Corporate Services Desk providing distribution and liquidity block services at Furman Selz and held senior institutional sales roles with Montgomery Securities and Needham Securities.

“When Joe outlined his vision for the new Robertson Stephens, I was all in. The wave of investment bank consolidation that transpired in the late ‘90s established a protracted void in the boutique model. With Joe’s leadership, we are reconstructing the partnership approach to serve high growth companies of today and the entrepreneurial wealth being generated from these exceptional companies,” said Mr. Conrad. “Plus, it’s tough to say ‘no’ to a guy who still carries his golf bag for eighteen holes.”

Robertson Stephens Welcomes Ren Riley

Robertson Stephens Names President to Newly Established Subsidiary, Robertson Stephens Partners LLC

SAN FRANCISCO, August 13, 2015 — Robertson Stephens, a wealth advisory and investment management firm for high net worth individuals and families, announced today that Ren Riley has been named Managing Director of Robertson Stephens Advisors LLC, a member of its Executive Committee, and President of Robertson Stephens Partners. 

Leveraging his global principal investment experience, Mr. Riley will lead the firm’s alternative assets effort which includes a Robertson Stephens-branded venture capital fund, a series of co-branded private equity funds and separate pooled asset vehicles. Mr. Riley is also responsible for developing Robertson Stephens’ private share secondary platform, as well as its merchant banking practice. 

Mr. Riley has 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Robertson Stephens in 2015, he spent 16 years at Oak Investment Partners, where he became a General Partner in 2006. His primary focus was in the Internet, mobile, and enterprise software and services sectors. Mr. Riley led or co-led investments in Centric Software, Gazillion Entertainment, Hipmunk, Lianlian Pay, Moxie, Photobucket, SmartDrive and Yoyi Media. Previous investments included Sutherland Global Services (Oak’s stake acquired by TPG Capital), Digital Media Group (acquired by VisionChina), iCrossing (acquired by Hearst), and Parlano (acquired by Microsoft). Positioned as a multi-stage, multi-sector venture capital firm, Oak has a long track record as an experienced investor in global technology markets. Mr. Riley was actively involved in Oak’s investment effort in China since 2005. He remains a Venture Partner of Oak, and currently sits on the Boards of Gazillion, Hipmunk, Moxie, Photobucket, and Yoyi.

“We are very excited to have Ren join our firm in such an important leadership role,” said Joe Piazza, Chairman and CEO. “Ren’s successful investment record and his years of experience as a General Partner of such a highly respected venture capital firm will be invaluable to us, not just as President of Robertson Stephens Partners, but across our other business units as well. Ren is a proven builder and leader,” added Piazza.

Prior to joining Oak, Mr. Riley was a Senior Associate with the original Robertson Stephens, where he worked in the corporate finance division and executed several public and private equity offerings as well as M&A transactions in the Internet, technology, business and information services sectors. Mr. Riley holds an AB in Government from Dartmouth College.

“The adage ‘you can never go home again’ has never rung true to me,” said Riley. “Since Joe decided to revive the firm, we’ve talked about me coming back. I am excited to join the executive team and help build the new Robertson Stephens. We’re challenging the traditional wealth management model – by conceiving a platform in which we can provide our clients access to the alternative asset class we not only create a powerful network effect, but we deepen our client partnership.”  

Currency Surprise from China

By Nicole Tanenbaum, Principal and Steve Florance, Director of Research & Strategy Group, Robertson Stephens Advisors

In an unexpected move, the People’s Bank of China surprised the world yesterday by implementing a nearly 2% depreciation to the yuan, the most dramatic one-day change in two decades. While the Chinese central bank argued that the devaluation was a market-driven move, the impact of a weaker currency is supportive for a still growing, yet decelerating economy. The investment landscape has been volatile with global equities down broadly more than 2%.


On Greece: Thoughts from a summer cruise in the Mediterranean

It seems notable that in all the discussion of “Grexit”/“Grexident”/“Greferendum”/“Grimbo” there has been very little discussion of the Greek economy itself. What are the economic challenges that must be met to ensure the strong and stable growth that properly supports Greek pride – and assures repayment to Greece’s creditors?

By Jeanette Garretty, Chief Economist, Robertson Stephens Advisors


Robertson Stephens Returns to Boston in Hunt for Wealthy Clients

By Jon Chesto, Boston Globe

And now it’s [Robertson Stephens] returning to Boston, once its second-biggest city. Piazza last month hired away Jerry Nigro and Virginia Madden from UBS to launch a small office in Two International Place. There are also plans for offices in New York, Chicago, and southern California.

“The respect for our brand is very strong in Boston [and] there’s an increasing amount of ‘new wealth’ throughout New England,” said Piazza, who came out of retirement to run Robbie. “Things have changed, times have changed [but] they’re different in a good way."


Robertson Stephens Opens Boston Office

SAN FRANCISCO, June 18, 2015 -- Robertson Stephens Advisors LLC, an investment management and wealth advisory firm for high net worth individuals and families, announced today the opening of its Boston office.

The new location comes in response to demand for Robertson Stephens’ advisory services on the East Coast. Robertson Stephens enjoys a traditional reputation of managing the challenges faced by multi-generational families’ wealth as well as advising on the complex issues that surround new wealth creation. The firm offers a personal, high-touch service model complemented by state of the art technology.

“The opening of our Boston office is a natural outgrowth of the strong heritage we enjoyed at the original Robertson Stephens,” said Joe Piazza, Chairman and CEO. “Our Boston office is an important and integral part of our domestic expansion plans.”

Jerry Nigro, who joins Robertson Stephens’ as Managing Director in the Boston office, has over 20 years of investment and wealth management experience. Jerry joins with Virginia Madden, a Client Relationship Manager. Ginny assists clients with administrative and operational needs ranging from financial planning and reporting to cash management. Jerry will help establish the firm’s effort to serve wealthy individuals and families in the Northeast. Prior to joining Robertson Stephens, Mr. Nigro spent the past seven years at UBS, where he was a Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager. Prior to UBS, he was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Jerry brings a holistic wealth management approach that includes asset allocation, risk management, estate and financial planning.

“Jerry will significantly expand Robertson Stephens’ growing impact on reinventing the client experience. Our firm is going ‘back to the future’ by establishing a partnership of common interests, something sadly missing in today’s landscape of large international financial services firms,” added Piazza.

"I am excited to help continue the expansion of Robertson Stephens through a strong local presence in Boston," said Nigro. "Our historic success in the financial sector, which is now experiencing structural changes and uncertainty, demonstrates Robertson Stephens’ value in responding to our clients’ growing need for independent, objective advice.”

Robertson Stephens’ new Boston office is located at Two International Place, 26th Floor, Boston, MA 02110.

Swing vote

By Brooke Southall, RIABiz

With the unknowns involved in purchasing software from a hyper-talented startup, Piazza acknowledged what he called a “Supreme Court”-style problem in the decision-making process to go with Addepar. When it came to a vote on the board of directors, four were for Addepar and four wanted to go with a more traditional competitor. Instead of exercising his prerogative to cast the swing vote, Piazza asked his board members to do some deeper research. The next vote came in at nine to zero.