Rebekah Kohmescherage 37

Managing director and director of investment operations, Altair Advisers

I am a Trailblazer

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 Rebekah

Rebekah Kohmescher has her hands full.

As recent events show, the winners of the past may not be the winners of the future. Our new white paper: http://t.co/4Gn4kpNoOg (re-linked)Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014 11:59AM @AltairAdvisers

As managing director and director of investment operations for Altair Advisers, she has been busy building the firm, which has $3.8 billion in assets under management.

One task on Ms. Kohmescher's plate has been to evaluate Altair's business relationship with its custodian and whether the firm should make a change. Another has been figuring out how Altair can become a sub-adviser to a '40 Act mutual fund for its clients.

Despite her responsibilities, Ms. Kohmescher has not lost focus on one goal: Figuring out some way to bring more women into the financial advice industry.

"It's very strange to have been the oldest woman at my firm since I was 26," she said. "I've had to look elsewhere for mentors."

Ms. Kohmescher is now involved in recruiting and hiring young consultants, and can't find enough female candidates to consider.

"We just hired five people on the consulting side, and it was impossible to find a qualified woman candidate. And that's when there are a lot more women in charge of hiring, and a lot would like to hire a woman."

To fight that reality, Ms. Kohmescher and Altair six years ago started a networking event in Chicago for women financial advisers, and to help younger women. She co-founded the Women's Wealth Network, and the events "have grown immensely," she said. "We now have three co-hosts from different parts of the financial services industry. The last event we had around 200 people; when we started we had 25."

She also acts as a mentor to women accounting majors in college, she said.

"The message is that firms like mine want strong, qualified women advisers, and there is no reason for women not to pursue this," she said. "The goal is to have better advice for clients. To have a diverse bench of advisers means the clients get the best fit."

— Bruce Kelly

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Fast Facts

  • Best career advice received: Slow down
  • Gave up caffeine on Jan. 1
  • Has a pet boxer named Cora