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Efforts and opportunities

Stevenson Ranch resident, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney adviser Andy Horowitz gained experience

Posted: February 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Andy Horowitz, vice president/financial adviser for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, sits inside his Valencia office on Town Center Drive in December.

 


Morgan Stanley broker Andy Horowitz, 43, a married father of three, is busy planning the next chapter of his life. And for the Stevenson Ranch resident, this includes devoting more time to his clients, family and nonprofit endeavors.

The chance to pursue his dreams is possible because Horowitz worked hard to reach this point in life.

“I don’t believe in luck,” he said. “The American dream is alive, but it doesn’t come from luck. It’s a combination of opportunity and preparedness. It comes from working hard.”

On Nov. 16, 2011, Horowitz sold his book of business from Estate Management in Santa Clarita to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and joined their ranks as a vice president and financial adviser.

His arrival at the global financial services firm, however, began at the age 13 when he launched his first business — scraping barnacles off of the bottom of boats moored in Ventura Marina in the Channel Islands area.

Horowitz came from a long line of entrepreneurs and self-made business owners.

Three generations

One grandfather owned a uniform service company. His other grandfather started swing-set company Play Yard Equipment Company in Culver City, in the post-war boom years of the 50s.

That grandfather then brought Horowitz’s father into the equipment business. And later, his father went on to establish his own real estate and bail bond business in the 60s and 70s. His brother Joel is running the business today.

After being offered $50 to clean a neighbor’s boat, the young Horowitz jumped at the chance and expanded it into a full-service maintenance business, which he named Seven Seas.

“I learned how to scuba dive and then starting doing varnishing and wax work. Later, I began installing radios. Eventually, my business was handling all the maintenance.”

That work led Horowitz to inventing the “lake stake,” a type of anchor that relied on leverage, as opposed to weight, by staking the boat into the ground. The unique anchor made its way into sporting goods stores and eventually into Big Five, Sports Chalet and Walmart, he said. He manufactured the anchor in Simi Valley.

By age 25, Horowitz had 45 people in the U.S. and 25 in Canada selling the anchor when it sold Seven Seas, along with the patents and trademarks years later, to an East Coast marine distribution company in Maine in 1994.

It was then that Horowitz began the gradual transition from the boating industry to financial services.

Financial services

“I learned how to raise capital through the formation of Seven Seas,” Horowitz said. “So I began doing consulting work writing business plans for small businesses.”

It was through this work that Horowitz realized he liked what he was doing and wanted to go into investment banking. He began working with Smith Culver Investments, a Beverly Hills municipal bond firm, where he secured his licenses and credentialing. Later, he joined Acacia as a financial adviser.

Saying he “felt the pull of his entrepreneurial spirit,” Horowitz started Estate Management Group Inc. of Valencia in 1996 to create a firm to help well-off families with comprehensive wealth management.

What attracted Horowitz to becoming self-employed, and to Morgan Stanley, was that he found many of the financial planning companies sold primarily their own products that often were proprietary in nature and not as competitive as others in the market place.

When he opened Estate Management group under the LPL Financial Services brokerage firm license, Horowitz focused on working with retirees and business owners. It was in his own practice that he developed a niche specialty.

“Based on my many years of experience building and selling businesses, as well as working with clients since 1996, I found myself focused in the area of transition and growth planning for family-owned businesses,” he said.

Horowitz worked in the manufacturing, distribution, winery, construction and aerospace industries as well as with franchise owner-operators throughout the United States. He eventually went on to speak at conferences for franchise owners of McDonald’s restaurants. And along the way, he co-authored a book.

Business owners get so busy raising capital, Horowitz said they often don’t have time to run their own businesses.

“Since 2008, we did very well. We had 25 to 30 percent growth in the worst economy in 50 years.”

But as Horowitz grew his own business, he wanted to get out of the management business himself so he could spend more time with his clients and offer more services.

Enter Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Bigger opportunity

“My clients were getting bigger and bigger and needed services I couldn’t provide in the individual space of my company,” Horowitz said. “I needed a larger organization and began looking for opportunities that would support those clients.”

Searching for the right fit, Horowitz eventually received written offers from four firms. His goals were specific: he wanted to join forces with an independent services company with a global footprint to help preserve and protect the wealth of his clients.

“I felt Morgan Stanley Smith Barney would be the most ideal environment to allow us to provide a more comprehensive group of services, including investment banking, credit services and unique investment opportunities to our wide and diverse group of clients,” Horowitz said.

Another factor for opting to go with Morgan Stanley, he said, is that as an independent company and not a bank, Horowitz felt the firm’s business model and investment choices were based on objective factors and not influenced by products many other firms pushed.

“I’ve sold against the big firms for the last 15 years and they all want you to buy their products,” Horowitz said. “I took the step of removing any conflict of interest.”

Today, Horowitz’s client mix is typically a senior corporate leader, age 55 to 75 with incomes about $100,000. This demographic set makes up about 50 percent of his business.

“The remaining 50 percent tends to be corporate executives, as well; however, they tend to be business owners and leaders of family-owned business with 100 employees or more,” Horowitz said.

In terms of geographic spread, about 50 percent of his clients are Santa Clarita Valley-based, with 10 to 15 percent of those scattered throughout Southern California and the remaining 35 percent spread across 23 states.

But having achieved his own goals hasn’t stopped Horowitz from planning for the next several decades.

Goals

“My motivation is primarily driven from my desire to be remembered as a good person who led their life in a way they could be proud of, a good example for my family, that I gave back to my community, served my clients well and to make sure I am an asset to my community and not just a person who expected something for nothing,” Horowitz said.

Since joining Morgan Stanley, however, Horowitz, a big believer in preparation, said he spent 15 hours a day for more than a month to get ready for 2012 and his clients.

But he’s hoping that by bringing a whole team of advisers to work with families and construct wealth management plans, it will mean more flexibility for him, less travel time and more time to spend with his family and clients.

Horowitz also wants to spend more time with charitable activities, music and the arts and oceanographic societies.

“There is much to be done in our world to make it a nice place and provide as many of the opportunities as I had growing up.”

Andy Horowitz of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is located at 24300 Town Center Drive, Suite 200, Valencia and can be reached at (661) 290-2035.

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