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Norb Vonnegut
Works at Norb Vonnegut
Attended Harvard Business School
Lives in Narragansett, RI
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Norb Vonnegut

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Do you want your spouse to inherit your Twitter page?
People need a plan for how their online presence will be handled at death and financial advisers should step up to help them, our columnist says.
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..."If you are a wealth manager at a major financial institution who has phoned an I-banker without going through proper channels or listened to your boss rant after he or she was excoriated by a liaison from those hallowed halls, then you know exactly what the adviser means."
Independent advisers and firms that support them are tackling an often prickly relationship, writes Wall Street Journal columnist Norb Vonnegut.
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Finra service that provides information on financial advisers could use an overhaul, our columnist says.
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"By contrast, wirehouse systems sometimes force advisers to 'shoehorn a client into a client experience that the client doesn’t always want,' says Mr. Straus, who previously ran the wealth-management units at UBS Group, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley."
For financial advisers thinking about striking out on their own, the decision should start and end with clients, writes columnist Norb Vonnegut.
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It’s hard to pound the table for serial laggards, who gorge good and plenty on 2-and-20...
Some clients will move their money from one adviser to another in the next year or two because of these factors, our columnist says.
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To paraphrase the line from Game of Thrones,  "All financial advisers 'are either butchers or meat.' " 
So-called virtual advisers and their machine counterparts, robo advisers, threaten to upend wealth management. So how will today’s traditional financial adviser respond, Norb Vonnegut asks?
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Compliance staffers have a tough job and risk personal liability when firms misbehave, our columnist notes.
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“Don’t confuse a sales pitch with what’s right for the client,” a former boss of mine once said.
As automated investment programs multiply, more clients are likely to ask advisers to justify their fees. There is a good answer, our columnist says.
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Rather than chipping away at compensation formulas, brokerages should focus on improving their services for brokers and clients, our columnist says.
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“The 12-year-old version of you can get you into all kinds of trouble.”
Gleeful about that multimillion-dollar payday? Our columnist offers some cautionary advice.
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Have you ever been chased with a shovel at work?

Most first-year advisers face a wall of rejection from prospects. But the rewards can be great if they persevere, as fewer advisers are chasing more money these days, Norb Vonnegut writes.
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For family businesses, sometimes the best advice is the most straightforward...
Business owners need solid, strategic advice—not just referrals to trust-and-estate lawyers or insurance agents, says Norb Vonnegut. And when clients’ businesses succeed, so do their financial advisers.
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In his circles
209 people
Have him in circles
376 people
Macias PR's profile photo
Lisa Churchville's profile photo
lighthouse studioz's profile photo
Sli Sli's profile photo
Paula Washington's profile photo
Bradley Bagshaw's profile photo
Paul Schupf's profile photo
Chris DePuy's profile photo
Thomas Waite's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Author of financial thrillers/suspense novels. I also write a regular column about wealth management for the Wall Street Journal.
Employment
  • Norb Vonnegut
    Author, 2009 - present
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Chase Manhattan Bank
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Narragansett, RI
Previously
Bronxville, NY - Charleston, SC
Story
Tagline
"Author of ... glittery thrillers about fiscal malfeasance." - NYT
Introduction

The New York Times describes my novels as “money porn,” “a red-hot franchise,” and “glittery thrillers about fiscal malfeasance.” Through fiction I explore the dark side of money and focus on the motivations of those who have it, want more, and will steamroll anybody who gets in their way.

I wasn’t always an author. I spent most of my career in private wealth management with several brokerage firms, primarily Morgan Stanley, and with a registered investment adviser in New York City. Back then, I always thought the people of Wall Street and their clients—smart, goofy, the complete spectrum from good to evil—would make great characters in a novel.

One thing I’ve learned: If a novelist can cook it up, chances are somebody is doing it. In December of 2007, I delivered the manuscript for Top Producer to St. Martin’s Press. My debut novel told the story of a Ponzi scheme in the public markets—which may not sound like a big deal in the aftermath of 2008. But I completed the book twelve months before Madoff unraveled.

More recently I wrote The Trust, a novel about drugs, money laundering, a sex superstore, and the Catholic Fund. A few months after its publication, a Catholic priest was indicted in Connecticut for cooking methamphetamine. And the press reported that he bought a sex shop to launder his drug money.

My stories have been nosing up to reality, long before the headlines make the press. The reason? Fiction is liberating. Novelists can advance theories about characters, no matter how crazy, without fearing the public embarrassment of being wrong. In my case, I’m probing people born from my real-life experience in the trenches of private wealth management. I’m straddling fact and fiction, which may explain why Top Producer and The Trust were predictive. And I sincerely hope The Gods of Greenwichnever comes true.

Let’s see what happens with End Game, the working title for my next novel. The story begins in 1986 with an art heist at Pell College, a fictional woman's school in Newport, Rhode Island. Picasso, Monet, Modigliani, Matisse–six priceless paintings disappear for over twenty-five years. Then, one day the Modigliani is returned to Pell with a ransom demand:

"Wire us $100 million in five days, or we'll turn the others into confetti."

The hero of End Game left Wall Street for the sanctuary of a small town in New England. But he’s so good at his job, so completely trustworthy and rock-solid reliable, he keeps getting sucked back into the muck of his former life. End Game takes an irreverent look at big money and big lies. And like my other novels, the stakes are deadly.

Other things to know about me: I write a column about private wealth management for the Wall Street Journal. My commentary addresses financial advisers. It’s opinionated. I don’t hold back. But it’s unbiased, because I’m not constrained by ties to Wall Street. If you’re evaluating your own financial advisers, I encourage you to take a look.

I graduated from Phillips Exeter in 1976, Harvard College in 1980 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1986. My family and I split our time between New York City and Narragansett, Rhode Island. I'm an avid cyclist and a Trustee with the American Foundation for the Blind. And I absolutely love books on tape.-

Bragging rights
Published novels: MR PRESIDENT (2011), THE TRUST (2011), THE GODS OF GREENWICH (2010), TOP PRODUCER (2009)
Education
  • Harvard Business School
    MBA, 1984 - 1986
  • Harvard University
    American History, 1976 - 1980
  • Phillips Exeter Academy
    1974 - 1976
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Norb Vonnegut's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Vonnegut: Should You Tell Clients About That Bonus?
online.wsj.com

Finra wants advisers to disclose their signing bonuses to clients--only if they ask. But that information can come back to bite you, Norb Vo

A Death-Rattle for ‘Two-and-20’ in Private Investing
online.wsj.com

Looking at some new ways to buy shares in sought-after private ventures, Norb Vonnegut sees signs of an end to high carry fees.

Vonnegut: The Client Strikes Back at Hedge Funds
online.wsj.com

The California Public Employees' Retirement System's exit from the hedge-fund market spells trouble for some advisers, says Norb Vonnegut.

Vonnegut: The Lure of Wealth, Power and Glory
online.wsj.com

For advisers, those traditional lures are slipping away, says Norb Vonnegut, who sees a future of less fun and more hard work.

Vonnegut: Navigating the Family Office
online.wsj.com

For advisers, getting past the family office is a challenge. But when that door opens after an offer to help in decision-making, "speak in p

Vonnegut: Stirring Up a Potion for Referrals
online.wsj.com

Is anyone telling the truth when they say, "My business is all referrals?" Norb Vonnegut asks.

Vonnegut: When the Money Spouse Dies
online.wsj.com

It is the money spouse who oversees investments and develops bonds with financial advisers. But when that spouse dies, the surviving partner

Norb Vonnegut: Wealth Management's Biggest Losers
online.wsj.com

Advisers must recognize the industry's technological arms race, because clients who don't get digital services are likely to leave, say Norb

Vonnegut: When It's Time to Discuss Charity
online.wsj.com

Rather than focusing on philanthropy as an end in itself, ask your clients what they hope their wealth will accomplish, says Norb Vonnegut.

Warding off predators with offshore trusts
online.wsj.com

Offshore trusts are like insurance, which means clients pay a premium for them. But advisers should have "the asset-protection discussion" w

Vonnegut: Bitcoin's Place in Wealth Management
online.wsj.com

Free, immediate money transfers via bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may change the service end of wealth management, says Norb Vonnegut.

Norb Vonnegut: Social Media Worth the Hassle for Financial Advisers
online.wsj.com

Social media is important to wealth management for reasons other than classic lead generation. Both Twitter and LinkedIn, each in very diffe

Vonnegut: How Not to Be a Rookie
online.wsj.com

Demonstrating financial savvy with wealth can be a challenge for new advisers. So it's crucial for newbies to build alliances with veterans,

Wealth Adviser: How Not To Be a Rookie - Total Return - WSJ
blogs.wsj.com

A morning briefing on coverage of special interest to wealth managers, financial planners and other advisers.

Norb Vonnegut: Financial Advice's Digital Disruption
online.wsj.com

Online competition in financial advice is just starting and will grow thanks to younger generations' love affair with all things digital. Ju

Vonnegut: Weath Managers Need a Formal Plan to Connect with Clients' Chi...
online.wsj.com

When advisers have no formal plan for connecting with clients' children, they're leaving lots of money on the table. Since when has that wor

Vonnegut: Before the Con Man Comes Knocking
online.wsj.com

Wealth managers need to help shield clients from hackers, identity thieves and con-artists while teaching them security techniques, writes N

Vonnegut: Pieces of an Advisory Dream Team
online.wsj.com

New blood can help invigorate an advisory team. But first, Norb Vonnegut suggests auditing the bench strength you already have, with an eye

Vonnegut: Be Smart and Take the Call
online.wsj.com

When recruiters call, it may be wise to listen to what they have to say, Norb Vonnegut writes. After all, the conversation can shed light on

Vonnegut: All's Fair in Love and Comp
online.wsj.com

Advisers with Barclays Wealth and Investment Management in the Americas recently learned half their monthly pay will be withheld pending qua