Name: Beth Scanlan
Firm: Morgan Stanley
Location: San Francisco, California
AUM: $731 million
Forbes Rankings: America’s Top Women Advisors, Best-in-State Women Advisors, Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams, Best-in-State Wealth Advisors
Background: A native of Pacific Palisades, in Southern California, Beth Scanlan studied legal studies and communication at the University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduation in 1982, she intended to go to law school, but her plans changed when she landed a job as a broker at Dean Witter Reynolds, which later merged with Morgan Stanley. Then in 1997, Scanlan returned to Berkeley for her MBA at the Haas School of Business and was inspired to become an entrepreneur after taking a leadership class with late Patricia Dunn, the former CEO of Barclays Global Investors. In 1998 Scanlon launched EAInvest Inc., to develop quantitative models for financial planning using ETFs. She ran it for nearly five years all the way through the dotcom bubble before returning to Wall Street in 2002. In 2016, Scanlan joined Morgan Stanley, where she primarily serves founders, early employees, and officers of public and private companies.
Competitive Edge: “I understand the entrepreneurial client in the deepest way because I too was one,” says Scanlan. She also is the founder of two endowments, one, Name it, which exceeds $40 million in assets. She also serves as Treasurer for various nonprofits dedicated to financial literacy and environmental education and believes she leverages her non-profit expertise to assist her clients in their philanthropic endeavors.
Investment Philosophy/Strategy: “I maintain a very disciplined approach to examining performance and allocation within the context of a client’s profile. We create an elegant set of top down analytics to capture the client’s entire portfolio and track performance and risk and yield of all the major asset classes. Entrepreneurs love that because that’s what they have to do—they need a business plan to succeed.”
Investment Outlook: “Volatility is the new normal,” says Scanlan. “Absent a shock, which is entirely possible given what’s happening globally and it being an election year, I think interest rates will stay higher for longer.”
Gender Diversity: Scanlan says, “We need greater representation of women in senior roles. Women need role models. This cannot happen in a vacuum. In addition to promoting more women to coveted top spots, our industry needs a larger pipeline for female talent. It cannot just be casual. Our industry needs to be more intentional.”
Best Advice: Short and simple—“Don’t postpone joy,” quips Scanlan. “Be strategic about your wealth and carefully think through your cash flow, but stay open-minded to opportunities. At the end of the day, money is just a tool and life is short.”
Hobbies: An avid tennis player, Scanlan lives by the motto of “always be practicing and developing your craft.” She also enjoys art, traveling and has been running a book club with close friends for nearly 30 years. Hernan Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Trust” is “a must read for anyone who works in financial services,” according to Scanlan.