Jennifer HicksJennifer Hicks, Wetherby

A series of injuries put Jennifer Hicks on the path to becoming a financial advisor. A car accident the summer before her first year as a Division I volleyball player left her with a broken tibia and fibula, and an ACL injury the next year put her on the sidelines again.

“It really re-focused me,” she says of those challenging months of recovery. Hicks went on to play again but she was also preparing for life after graduating from the University of the Pacific. With a degree in finance she decided to pursue an MBA as well.

Today, Hicks, 34, has transformed her love of the competitive sport into a team-oriented wealth management practice at Wetherby Asset Management in San Francisco. She started at the firm eleven years ago in an entry level position. She worked her way up to lead a group of seven advisors and associates, and says her years on a volleyball team set her up for success as a manager.

“I’m all about the team,” Hicks says. “I really focus on making sure the team is doing well. I can’t do anything I’m doing on my own.” Hicks conducts regular check-ins with her colleagues to ensure they are enjoying their work and achieving their own career goals. She says making the time for this is especially important since Wetherby often hires new graduates.

Hicks credits her own early years at Wetherby with giving her the confidence to succeed in tough situations, especially during the financial crisis in 2008. “I learned so much seeing the fear that was invoked in our clients and how our great team here handled that,” she says.

She now manages more than $500 million in assets for 42 families, many of which are multi-generational and have complex portfolios.

“A lot of our clients have made their money,” she says, “So we want to make sure that we’re preserving capital first and foremost.” Her team has recently focused on two major areas: identifying valuable illiquid investments like private equity and hedge funds, and creating opportunities for impact investing that reflects a client’s values without compromising returns.

Hicks says that impact investing strategies have particularly resonated with the women she works with, though she has noticed that more men, couples, and millennials have also been drawn to the practice. She walks them through index funds with social focuses, and more targeted options including companies that are taking steps to protect the environment.

“The investment landscape is always changing, but the process is the same,” she says. “You’re always looking for new opportunities to have the best investment return.”

Click here for the full list of Forbes‘ Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors.


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