Jennifer Kenningage 35

Principal and director of wealth management, Aspiriant

I am an Idealist

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 Jennifer

Some financial advisers travel far and wide to meet with clients. But Jennifer Kenning's work sometimes takes her to East Africa.

.@AspiriantNews CEO Rob Francais discusses bank-RIA buyout with @finplan @paikert http://t.co/26tNBjvdSY #RIAMonday, Jul 28, 2014 5:09PM @AspiriantNews

In December, Ms. Kenning — accompanied by a 29-year-old client — went to Kenya and Uganda to explore opportunities in impact investing and evaluate progress on philanthropic ventures. The financial advice business has a lot of unanswered questions about philanthropy and impact investing (the proactive backing of a project or firm engaged in an effort important to the investor). Are there good investment opportunities that align with investors' values? Are superior returns achievable when clients invest with their hearts? How do you structure charitable giving to ensure it's achieving the intended goals efficiently?

But perhaps the most important question: How do financial advisers get paid for cultivating this expertise?

As a young wealth manager, Ms. Kenning is working around the clock and the globe to answer those questions. In fact, she is the youngest board member at Aspiriant, a family-office-style registered investment adviser.

"I've been speaking up about impact investing and the future of philanthropy, and why we should be playing a role in that space," she said. "Even though we don't understand it as a business, we should educate ourselves to understand a topic that doesn't fit in our traditional business model."

Ms. Kenning said younger investors with growing pools of wealth and a less compartmentalized view are driving interest in values-oriented investing and rigorous philanthropy.

"I'm surrounded by people in their mid-20s who are amazing; they're doing great things globally, and that inspires me," she said. "I think we as advisers need to be ready to serve that generation. Let's pioneer it — let's build the ecosystem."

— Trevor Hunnicutt

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    Partner and director of research, Pinnacle Advisory Group

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Fast Facts

  • Owns two pugs, named after Tim Tebow and Tiger Woods
  • Has attended 108 concerts of the Dave Matthews Band
  • Loves nighttime scuba diving