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Name: Hollis Montgomery

Firm: Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Location: Atlanta, GA

AUM: $7.1 billion

Forbes Rankings: America’s Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors, Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors Best-in-State, Best-in-State Wealth Advisors, America’s Top Women Wealth Advisors, Top Women Wealth Advisors Best-In-State, Best-In-State Wealth Management Teams, America’s Top Wealth Management Teams High Net Worth

Background: An Atlanta native, Hollis Montgomery grew up around the wealth management industry thanks to her father, who had a 30-year career as an advisor. “Though I’m young, in a way I’ve had exposure to this industry my whole life,” she says. Montgomery went on to study in the honors program at The University of Georgia, earning her bachelor’s in finance and a minor in consumer economics in 2014. She started at Morgan Stanley—where she had previously interned—right after school, worked her way up and eventually took over her father’s business in 2019. She prides herself in tk% client retention during the transition and says that business has more than doubled since then.

Mentors: Her mother, who she describes as charismatic and energetic. A cardiac ICU nurse, she encouraged Montgomery to dream big and be brave.

Competitive Edge: A lot of it just boils down to being incredibly prepared and educated, says Montgomery. “I may be the youngest one in the room, which I have no control over, but I always work my hardest to be the smartest in the room.”

Lessons Learned: “Things that seem to be failures or mistakes can often be opportunities in disguise,” says Montgomery. She describes learning a valuable lesson after originally dropping out of New York University, where she had initially enrolled to study psychology. She made a plan before coming home—enrolling at the University of Georgia’s honor program—and switched to studying finance. “At the time it seemed like the worst thing that had ever happened to me,” she recalls. “Sitting here now, 31-year-old me says it’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

Biggest Challenge: “Being a woman in this industry is a significant advantage, however, forging a path without a lot of predecessors in this industry does present some challenges—I have to make my own playbook.”

Investment Philosophy/Strategy: What matters most, according to Montgomery, is understanding clients, their goals and their risk tolerance—only then can you come up with a diversified investment strategy that’s customized to each person. “I pride myself on making sure we’re wrapping our arms around the whole client—I like to think of myself as the core backer of a family,” says Montgomery. That means everyone in the family needs to know her name and face. “I have my arms wrapped around an entire client’s network—and that includes getting to know and serving as a sounding board for younger generations.”

Investment Outlook: Montgomery remains bullish when it comes to long term sentiment. “It’s also an exciting time for cash and bonds, for the first time in a long time,” she notes. What’s more, Montgomery likes to consistently revisit clients’ financial plans during times of market uncertainty. “If you know your client well, then market turmoil is a great time to go back and update their financial plan, especially for people more hesitant to do so,” she says.

What Keeps You Up At Night: Montgomery cites working very closely with a good number of clients who are either preparing to sell a business, conducting minority sales or creating employee stock ownership plans. “As big client transactions or estate planning deadlines approach, I always want to make sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed,” she says. “Those are big, once in a lifetime events for clients who are like family.”

Favorite Book/Movie/Hobby: Beyond spending time with her husband and two young children, Montgomery loves to travel—she’s already checked skydiving, bungee jumping and shark cave diving all off the bucket list.