Senior vice president, wealth management,
Griffith Wheelwright Group at Morgan Stanley
- Closet Nascar fan who has attended races at seven tracks (including two Daytona 500s) and driven on two others.
- Guilty pleasure is watching "Survivor."
- Would love to dine with Chris Farley, Michael Jordan and Amelia Earhart.
Christopher K. Griffith is already a 17-year veteran of the industry. He didn't waste any time getting started, earning his first license while in college, continuing an interest in investing from his high school years. Upon graduation in 2001, he and his college roommate Henry J. Wheelwright started their own wealth management practice. They are still partners, running a six-person team and managing about $400 million in client assets.
Mr. Griffith attributes his success at such an early age to working long hours, earning a CFP and a CPWA in his 20s, and doing a tremendous amount of outreach. The business took about five years to take off, he said.
Having a partner who was a peer was important.
"It was very helpful that I had someone in the trenches with me; it wasn't a senior-junior thing," he said.
As an established professional, Mr. Griffith gives back to the industry by providing pro bono planning for low-income families, teaching classes on financial literacy, and mentoring interns and new hires.
There's a big opportunity in the industry for younger people, he said.
"Youth is one of the greatest assets you can have as an adviser. [Especially] if you've got some experience, a CFP and existing clients," Mr. Griffith said. "The single biggest concern from clients in our favor is that they worry they'll outlive their advisers."
— Deborah Nason; Photo credit: Brad Trent