Adam Birenbaumage 36

CEO, Buckingham Asset Management and BAM Advisor Services

I am a Leader

40 Under 40
40 Under 40

I am a Leader

40 Under 40
Leaders

I am a Trailblazer

Trail Blazers

I am an Entrepreneur

40 Under 40
Entrepreneurs

I am a Visionary

40 Under 40
Visionaries

I am an Idealist

40 Under 40
Idealists

Meet the Leaders

Whether in their own firms or in their communities, these young people are leading the charge toward innovation in financial planning, bringing new opportunities to advisers and clients alike. Here, they share the best leadership advice they’ve received in their careers.

Meet the Trailblazers

This group doesn’t subscribe to groupthink. They are spearheading new ways of practicing and delivering financial advice — in some cases reaching populations previously considered unprofitable to serve. We ask them about the most unique and unusual ideas they’ve had.

Meet the Entrepreneurs

In addition to helping clients reach their financial goals, some in the advice industry face the challenge of running a business or a team. Others have started companies to support this pursuit. These young people are flourishing amid the balancing act — and some got an early start.

Meet the Visionaries

It’s not about what is, but what will be — and what can be — the future of the financial planning industry for this group of forward-looking advisers, educators and executives. Their insights pull the rest of the profession into the next stratum.

Meet the Idealists

Life experiences shape our ideals, especially for these young professionals who see challenges in the advice industry and the world — and set out to meet them. They also have words of wisdom for the next generation.

About Adam

"I know it's rare, but I can truly say I'm working at the last place I'll ever work," said Adam Birenbaum, chief executive of Buckingham Asset Management and BAM Advisor Services.

The taxman cometh: @DanSolin asks wealth advisor John Corn for year-end tax tips @YahooFinance #taxtime #readyornot http://t.co/760WFor5JDWednesday, Dec 17, 2014 3:21PM @BuckinghamAdvsr

Promoted to the top spot four years ago, Mr. Birenbaum got his first taste of the firm via an internship when he was a student at St. Louis University School of Law.

"I always thought law would be a fabulous background degree, because it gives you a different way of looking at risk," he said. "The law degree has helped me in business, but I've always been attracted to the investment management industry."

As Mr. Birenbaum discusses wealth management, it becomes clear he appreciates the broadest possible context.

While the boss doesn't expect all of Buckingham's 178 employees to maintain his pace of 80-hour work weeks, he does expect a "hard 40."

"There are lots of lifestyle firms out there, but this is not one of them, because we're really trying to grow a business," Mr. Birenbaum said. "Under 40 hours does not happen here, and I don't think those kinds of lifestyle firms are healthy for clients or for the industry."

Buckingham's succession-planning strategy, which he helped design, has brought on 14 advisory firms over the past three and a half years, pushing total assets under advisement and management to $24 billion.

"From my vantage point, there's a world to change out there," Mr. Birenbaum said. "We believe some firms will emerge to compete with the wirehouses; why not us?"

Jeff Benjamin

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Fast Facts

  • Works 80 hours a week but doesn't drink coffee
  • Earned a law degree never planning to practice law
  • Collects sports memorabilia