Connect with Adam Bedrossian on LinkedIn
Job: Wealth and Investment Management Analyst, Wells Fargo Advisors
Location: Greater Los Angeles Area, California
Adam is connection of Daniel Hennes, a previous YoPro interviewee. The two met in college and have both stayed in the LA area since their USC days. In his interview, we touched on everything from the similarities between his D1 baseball career and his wealth management role, to his story of finding his birth parents in Hawaii. One of my favorite parts of his story is how he believes that as long as you are confident, age should never be a factor that works against you.
What is your background?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I grew up playing sports my entire life. The older I got, I had to hone in on one sport because I wanted to earn an athletic scholarship to play in college. That’s what eventually led me to accept a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Hawaii (UH), where I decided to go so I could discover my roots. I was adopted by an Armenian family in LA, but biologically, I’m half-Hawaiian. The first week out in Hawaii, my name surfaced in the news regarding the recruiting class that UH had released. My biological family ended up finding me while I was out there and I got to meet them. Every single weekend after that, I would go to my grandfather's house on Sundays to hang out with my biological family. I wanted to go to Hawaii and immerse myself in the culture, and I think I did just that.
Did you stay in Hawaii all four years of undergrad?
Unfortunately, I dealt with a couple of injuries so I couldn’t continue playing baseball anymore. I knew that I wanted to do something in the business world and UH wasn’t going to give me the best opportunity to pursue that. That’s when I started looking into transferring back home and how I ended up at the University of Southern California. While at USC, I had a huge dream of becoming a baseball agent. However, I realized that’s not something that was going to allow me to impact someone’s life as much as I wanted to. The way I figured I could help athletes and also challenge myself intellectually was through wealth management. I like telling people that the three most important things to people are health, wealth, and family. If I can help manage two of those three things, then I think I'd make a pretty positive impact on the world. Currently, I work with a couple of teams in the office, helping support their existing book and coincidentally developing my own book as well. I found success in dealing with athletes as far as bringing them on board to the platform. My story resonates most with them, having been through the hustle and grind of being a D1 athlete. That’s where I found the most success.
Can you explain what the wealth management industry looks like?
The wealth management industry, as a whole, is very traditional. I like to say that it’s kind of ripe for change. I think there’s a lot of opportunities for disruption in the work space. Right now, the industry is about managing wealth – helping families gain and maintain wealth. We’re supposed to go in there and make sure that there’s open communication among the family and be sure that all of their assets are in line. In cases like today, with the right investment approach, a lot of that risk can be mitigated. At the end of the day, it’s making sure that families are in line with their investment objectives and helping them holistically with their financial health.
Has your age played a positive or negative role in your job thus far?
I wouldn’t say it’s quite either. I think it’s how you approach it mentally because it definitely could be a hurdle if you let it. The thing that has been most challenging for me has been getting over the fact that I am 22-years-old. I don’t think age is something that you should let impact how you approach a conversation. If you’re confident in the information that you’re displaying and know how to present it the right way, then age shouldn’t be a factor. I’ve actually used it as an advantage. One of the biggest issues in our industry as far as varying from brokerage to brokerage and advisor to advisor is maintaining family assets. For example, let’s say you have a 55-year-old man with a son. The 55-year-old man inherited his wealth from his dad, who’s 85-years-old. What a lot of teams are starting to do is bring on Junior Advisors to start establishing that relationship with the son. That way, the wealth stays with the firm and with the advisor, and they have the best idea of what that family structure looks like.
Have you experienced any hardships in your career? If so, how did it help shape you?
The biggest hardship that I’ve experienced has been very recent. During this time, there has been the OPEC negotiations, Coronavirus fears, South Korea reported that North Korea launched a missile, and there has been the biggest drop in oil since the Gulf War in 1991. All of these things have come together at the wrong time. The biggest challenge has been keeping clients in line with their investment objectives because, at the end of the day, those things are out of our control. I had to come up with a way to communicate that to clients and make sure that they’re thinking long-term, not short-term. An advisor in the office taught me something instrumental in my development. He always says that there are only five things that we could control. On the behavioral side, it’s control, patience, and discipline. On the investment side, it’s asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing. Those are the only things that we could control as investors and advisors and we have to be able to articulate that clearly to our clients. Today, having to communicate what all this means to our clients and reminding them to think long-term has definitely been a huge challenge for me.
What would you tell somebody looking to join your field?
The one thing that stands out to me is being creative. I think it’s really easy for people when they hear the word “finance” to think of suits, ties, structure, and rigidity. That’s kind of what comes to mind when you’re thinking about getting into the finance field, specifically with wealth management. As I mentioned earlier, it’s extremely traditional. I think if you come into the industry with innovative and creative ideas, you could really make a positive impact. The industry has definitely gravitated from being extremely transactional to being relationship-based. If you could come in with ideas on how the younger minds are thinking, then that’s valuable for the management who tend to be a little bit older and experienced. I think there's a natural progression going towards them factoring in younger people's input.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be and why?
If I could go back, I would definitely tell myself to reframe my state of mind. It's kind of along the lines of what we were discussing earlier, with not being as confident because we're a lot younger. I think there's a really fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I've seen it both ways. I would find that medium ground and position myself with the most amount of knowledge that I could possibly have. If I could do anything, I would probably just read a whole lot more of whatever it is. You always hear your professor say, read the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, and then just kind of dismiss it. The older we get, the more we realize that knowledge is key and knowledge is power, especially now with everything being consumed so instantaneously. If I could have been disciplined enough to sit down and read the paper, read a few articles every morning, and make it part of a routine, I'd be so much more well prepared. Just having real-life knowledge to kind of fall back on is something that I wish I did.
What does being a young professional mean to you?
I think that's a good and tough question. For me, being a young professional is what you make of it. Again, kind of falling back to that state of mind thing. If you enter the workforce with the mindset that you're going to be just another cog in the machine for a company that you’re working for, then you’re going to be just that. However, if you go in and bring disruptive ideas, eliminate bottlenecks, and find ways that you can make an impact on the organization, then I think you're going to assert your value immediately. You're going to be able to show that you're capable of making a difference. Even if your ideas are shot to the ground, just keep bringing them is something, because that’s what they're paying you for. They're going to see the upside to hiring you, more so than just someone that clocks in at nine and leaves at five.
What motivates you?
Two things that really motivate me are my faith and family. Those are the two things that get me up in the morning and allow me to sleep comfortably at night. I grew up in a religious household and valuing faith has been instrumental in how I’ve approached everyday life. Waking up and being able to pray every morning puts me in the right state of mind. For other people, it might be yoga, but for me, it’s praying. The night before I go to bed, I thank God for everything that he's blessed me with and the opportunities that he's provided me, especially considering my story. I could have been in a different situation right now. The way that I give back is by paying it forward anywhere that I can help the community or individuals. The second thing that motivates me is family. Growing up Armenian, a family is the most important thing that you could fathom. I was able to be there for my little brother, and my cousin who was diagnosed with Autism 16 years ago. Autism has been a big thing in my life. Trying to combat that, help as many people as I can, and really be there for my family and my extended family has been something that drives me. Work is kind of secondary because it provides me the means to support them. Family and faith are the two things that really get me up in the morning.
Any last-minute advice?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I think in my particular situation, I was forced to deal with that at a really early age. You would look at the family picture and I would be the darkest one. I was always in an environment where I was physically different. I had to find ways to adapt and find common ground with people. I think that’s why I’ve gravitated towards this industry, which is very people-oriented. I think something that young professionals can do, that they don't leverage quite enough, is to take advantage of the student card. Use that “Edu” at the end of your email, conduct informational interviews using LinkedIn, or whatever it may be. Put yourself in situations where there are no negative repercussions aside from the person not liking you. You're expanding your network and getting a bunch of practice before you enter real life.
-Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
– If you’re confident in the information that you’re displaying and know how to present it the right way, then age shouldn’t be a factor
-Reframe your state of mind as a worker and find ways that you can make an impact in your field
– Being a D1 athlete sets you up for Wealth Management life
-Expand your network as a student and get tons of practice before you enter real life
– The older we get, the more we realize that knowledge is key and knowledge is power
Check it out: University of Hawaii, University of Southern California, Wells Fargo Advisors