Alberto Moreno Explains Why Latinos Have A Competitive Advantage

Alberto Moreno Multicultural Financial Advisor Forum Profile

Alberto Moreno is a Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor in Miami, Florida at one of the firm’s largest international offices, servicing high net worth clients throughout South America. Alberto talked with us about his experience and the opportunities for Latinos.

How did you get started as a Financial Advisor?
After graduate school, I worked at Banco Popular in Quito, Ecuador in the corporate banking and lending division. The economy was pretty bad in the late 90’s and companies were having trouble repaying their loans. When the bank folded, I started my own company and called on my old clients. I helped them present themselves to other banks so they could refinance their loans.

Are your clients mostly wealthy investors from Ecuador? How do you find them?
Yes, I worked there for 10 years and that’s where I made most of my professional acquaintances. My business is almost entirely referrals. I don’t do cold calls. This is a relationship business; good relationships lead to other good relationships.

How important is your Latino heritage to your business?
Very important. As a Latino, I am a member of the community; they don’t see me as a foreigner. I’m one of them, and that’s a great competitive advantage over non-Latino Financial Advisors.

Are international investors different from American investors?
International investors are more open to global opportunities, emerging markets and foreign currencies. They’re more comfortable with the volatility and risk. American investors tend to stay “closer to home”.

What are the unique challenges of this business?
While the firm provides training, tools and valuable support on an ongoing basis, at the end of the day it’s up to you to build your business and build trust with your clients.

While the rewards and flexibility are unmatched, this can be a lonely business at times. There aren’t always people around to give you advice or to help you solve your problems. When you go to visit your client or make a phone call, it’s just you – one on one with your client.

Interpersonal skills, integrity, confidence and your insights are the traits that will win you trust and grow your business.

What are the qualities that have made you successful?
Honesty and perseverance.

You need to be honest with yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses. If you find success through strength in a particular area, let people know about that.

For example, I’m a technical guy and a good salesman. I understand how things are built and I’m good at explaining abstract details. So that makes me attractive to clients who are interested in learning how more complex products or concepts can work to their advantage. I try to make it easy for them to understand the risks and rewards of these more complicated options.

How do you compensate for your weaknesses?
Everybody has weaknesses. Why focus on your weakness when you can emphasize your strengths? I have strong technical and people skills, so I work on enhancing those skills. Weaknesses are harder to overcome and so it’s generally a better idea to optimize your strengths.

Is this a good time for Latinos to consider a career as a Financial Advisor?
It’s always a good time. Doesn’t matter whether the market is high or low, there is always a need for someone with broad knowledge about investing and wealth management and the desire to help others with their money.

© 2011 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.