Robertson Stephens Names New Senior Strategic Advisor

SAN FRANCISCO, March 10, 2015 — Robertson Stephens, a boutique wealth management firm for high net worth individuals and families, announced today that Ronald Florance, CFA, has been named Senior Strategic Advisor. In his role as Strategic Advisor, Mr. Florance’s responsibilities include advising Robertson Stephens on comprehensive strategic asset allocation, financial planning and investment management solutions and communicating the firm’s global investment strategy to the public and the media. He also sits on the firm’s Board of Advisors.

Mr. Florance has more than 30 years experience in financial services, with 15 of them in investment management. Most recently Mr. Florance was the Deputy Chief Investment Officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank where he was responsible for developing key investment strategy guidance for high-net-worth individuals, families and philanthropic entities. His prior corporate experience included roles at The Vanguard Group, Wells Fargo Nikko Investment Advisors and The Private Bank at Bank of America.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ron. He’s widely respected as a thought leader in the wealth advisory and asset management industry,” said Joe Piazza, Chairman and CEO of Robertson Stephens. “He believes, as we do, that the real value in providing economic and market overview is in observation and analysis and not in predictions,” added Piazza.

“That competency is of far greater value to our firm and our clients in helping us build effective, global customized portfolios,” said Steve Florance, Director of our Research and Strategy Group. “His humorous, easy-going nature backed by know-how fits beautifully into our culture.”

Mr. Florance’s years of experience includes Global Asset Allocation, Equity Research, Fixed Income Research and portfolio design and management. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Brown University and was awarded a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1995. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, academic lectures and continuing education programs and is often quoted in both print and broadcast media.

“I am absolutely delighted for the opportunity to work with the talented professionals at Robertson Stephens,” said Florance. “Robertson Stephens is redefining the process of wealth management advisory and I want to be a part of this revolution.”

The Registered Investment Advisor Choice

By Jeanette Garretty, Robertson Stephens Advisors

Determining the correct business model for one’s investment management should be the result of serious, clear-headed evaluation of one’s needs.


Takeaways from a New York Times Article about Addepar

By Brooke Southall, RIABiz

Piazza says that his experience teaches him that there is one fundamental way that Addepar's software differs from its competitors. While all players have portfolio accounting and performance reporting, Addepar's is also loaded with the ability to give a portfolio an MRI and to make sense of the sensory images it picks up.


Wealth Managers Enlist Spy Tools to Map Portfolios

By Quentin Hardy, The New York Times

Professional wealth managers are going to be seeing a lot more of big data. Last spring, Addepar raised a substantial sum to take this mainstream, and although it is not the only one bringing big data to a portfolio statement, its cast of characters sets it apart.

“One of the most foundational questions in finance is ‘What do I own, and what is all of this worth?’ ” said Eric Poirier, the chief executive of Addepar. “ ‘What is my risk?’ turns out to be an almost intractable problem.”


Swatting aside ‘doubters,’ Joe Piazza uses an improbable hook to nab Wells Fargo private bankers -- pent-up Addepar lust

By Lisa Shidler, RIA Biz

Brooke’s Note: Three RIA story lines we have followed intensively in the past year are the 80 or more mostly engineers in Silicon Valley trying to reinvent wealth management software (Addepar), one hell-bent RIA custodian chief (Fidelity’s Mike Durbin) trying to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable asset gap to Schwab, and an old guy in San Francisco trying to revive an ancient brand name and make it a mega-RIA (70-year-old Joe Piazza). What fun to see this trio of stories collide in this article by Lisa Shidler in which she advances knowledge of all three.

It’s possible that Joe Piazza’s “Field of Dreams” approach to reviving the Robertson Stephens brand — that is, building a management team, brand and infrastructure ahead of building up assets — is working.


Jeanette Garretty and Daniel Rozansky Join Robertson Stephens as Advisors

SAN FRANCISCO, April 4, 2014 -- Robertson Stephens Advisors LLC announced today that Jeanette Garretty and Daniel Rozansky have joined the firm as a Managing Director and Chief Economist, and a Managing Director and Director of Financial Planning, respectively. 

Both Garretty and Rozansky will be advising high net worth individuals and their families on the allocation and management of their financial assets. They will also serve on the firm’s Management and Investment Committees. Joe Piazza, Chairman and CEO of Robertson Stephens LLC (parent company of Robertson Stephens Advisors), is pleased to have them on board: “Jeanette and Danny are among the finest and most successful investment advisors in our industry. They will make a significant contribution to Robertson Stephens, both in terms of our business growth and, as importantly, in terms of our culture and mission.” 


Robertson Stephens Hires Two Managing Directors, New Chief Investment Officer and Director of Fixed Income

SAN FRANCISCO, April 4, 2014 -- Michael Zaninovich has joined Robertson Stephens Advisors as a Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer. Robertson Stephens has also hired Mary Gail Sycamore as a Managing Director and Director of Fixed Income. 

As Chief Investment Officer, Zaninovich will be responsible for leading the Robertson Stephens Investment Committee. He brings over 20 years of award-winning experience in investment management to the firm: “I’m a strong believer in Robertson Stephens’ partnership culture, research-driven investment approach, and high-touch client service.” Before coming to Robertson Stephens, Zaninovich was a Senior Vice President and Senior Investment Strategist at Wells Fargo Private Bank, where he was responsible for managing and structuring multi-asset class portfolios for ultra-high net worth clients. Zaninovich was the top-ranked investment strategist for the Wells Fargo Private Bank in 2008 and the #3 investment strategist nationwide for 2011. In 2013, Zaninovich was awarded the prestigious Concord Elite distinction for the third time in five years. Before joining Wells Fargo, he was a partner in two long/short hedge funds and a consultant to a global macro hedge fund. 


As Joe Piazza's Robertson Stephens venture gears up for '$40 billion,' he adds Mercer, Addepar, Fidelity and Schwab and subtracts Fortigent

By Jim Welte, RIA Biz

Brooke’s Note: If Joe Piazza can pull off his vision of reviving a Robertson Stephens brand left for dead, it will be a coup for the ages and for the RIA model. On top of that, Piazza would be doing it all at the age of 70, when most of his ilk have “emeritus” in their title and show up twice a year with a tan and fresh doughnuts. I joined Jim Welte for the initial interview in our office, a few miles from Piazza’s home in Tiburon. Joe is as warm, affable and brimming with a sense of energy as ever but his actions show that he’s also as willing, as ever to make decisions, take charge and get out there. It’s a heck of a story. 

Joe Piazza’s co-venture with LPL Financial to restart a defunct investment banking brand in RIA form is now downplaying LPL as vendor and investor as it aspires to $2 billion in assets by the middle of next year.

The founder of San Francisco-based Robertson Stephens Asset Management added Schwab Advisor Services and Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services to the custodian mix.


Robertson Stephens Partners CEO launches new venture under old name

By Adam Cancryn, SNLFinancial

More than a decade after investment bank Robertson Stephens closed its doors, one of the firm's former employees is trying to revive its name. Joseph Piazza recently launched Robertson Stephens Partners LLC, the holding company for a broker/dealer and investment manager serving high net worth clients with $10 million to $100 million in assets.


Broker Looks to Revive an Old Name

By Aaron Lucchetti, The Wall Street Journal

It is a bull market for dead brokerage firms, too. Robertson Stephens & Co., a San Francisco firm that made its name pitching high-flying technology stocks during the 1990s but was shut down in 2002, is being resurrected by one of its former executives as a brokerage and wealth-management firm.

Joe Piazza, who oversaw Robertson Stephens's brokerage unit from 1998 to 2002, is coming out of retirement at 69 years old to start Robertson Stephens Partners LLC.


With big LPL backing, the Robertson Stephens brand revives to roll up advisors to the suddenly wealthy


Joe Piazza is taking the once-premium San Francisco investment banking brand and combining with Fortigent to lure brokers to a hybrid platform

Brooke's Note: What says everything about what the Robertson Stephens brand once meant was that when I moved to San Francisco I was told where the young "Robbie" guns had drinks on Friday after work. It was suggested maybe I go there to tap into the pulse of business activity in the city and region. But the brand will impress me even more if it can pull a Lazarus-like rise from what sure had the appearance of dead as captured by a 2002 article in The Economist: Boom, Fizzle, Silence. If anyone can turn fizzle to sizzle, it's someone like Joe Piazza. He believes.

The once-great underdog investment banking brand of Robertson Stephens is getting another shot at life after one of its former executives bought it and set up an RIA and broker-dealer under the name.

Joe Piazza has rented 8,000 square feet on the Bank of America building's 16th floor at 555 California St. in San Francisco on behalf of his new venture, Robertson Stephens Asset Management, and its sister broker-dealer, Robertson Stephens Securities.


The New Robertson Stephens Launches As A High Net Worth Wealth Management Firm

PR Newswire

San Francisco-Based Firm Brings Back Storied Financial Services Brand Under New Collaboration with LPL Financial to Provide Comprehensive Wealth Management Services to Individuals and Families

SAN FRANCISCO, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Robertson Stephens Partners LLC announced today that it has commenced operations as the holding company of Robertson Stephens Asset Management LLC and broker-dealer Robertson Stephens Securities LLC, with Joseph Piazza serving as Chairman and CEO. Both the investment advisor and the broker dealer are not yet registered, but have commenced their respective registration processes.

"Launching the brand name is our way of paying respect to all of the entrepreneurs who founded the boutique firms of that era," said Piazza. Robertson Stephens Asset Management LLC, which will be the operating company, will provide customized, goal-oriented solutions primarily to individuals and families with $10 million to $100 million in assets, focusing on entrepreneurs from high growth industries including technology, social media and energy.