Moving up: Wealth manager focuses on individual strategy for clients

The Palm Beach Post

by: Mary Thurwatcher

Business section ~ Moving Up feature

July 20, 2015


Name: Kurt Sylvia

Distinction: Managing director UBS Private Wealth Management

City: Palm Beach

With 20 years of experience and numerous recognitions, Kurt Sylvia is considered to be a top adviser to families of significant means, not only locally but nationally, through industry honors.

His recognitions include Top 100 Financial Advisors in the U.S. by Barron’s (2008, 2006), NABCAP South Florida Premier Advisor (2012) and Top 400 Financial Advisers in the Country by Financial Times (2014).

Barron’s recently recognized the Jupiter man as one of the Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in the U.S. This honor places Sylvia, managing director UBS Private Wealth Management Palm Beach, as the highest-ranked UBS adviser in Florida on Barron’s list every year since 2010.

Communication skills, he said, are key to his success. It is important, he said, for financial advisers to be good listeners, establish a rapport with clients and to spend time listening to their unique needs.

His first position after college was as a financial analyst with Dun & Bradstreet.

“In 1990, Dun & Bradstreet closed their Providence, R.I., office and I was offered a position anywhere in the country that I wished to accept,” he said. “I accepted a position in Miami in 1990 and moved to Miami when I was 22 years old. After working at Dun & Bradstreet for a number of years, my career transitioned to a boutique municipal bond firm and then to accepting a position at First Union Securitiesas a senior vice president. It was 2008 when my career transitioned to UBS.”

The work has its challenges.

“Today, my biggest challenge as a wealth manager and private wealth adviser is managing risk,” Sylvia said. “Geopolitical risk, inflation risk, interest rate risk, equity risk, and volatility-of-return risk for income investors need to be managed with customized solutions.”

But the work is fulfilling.

“Without question, the most rewarding aspect of my current position as managing director UBS Private Wealth Management Palm Beach is the integration of world-class intellectual capital and platform into solutions that directly influence the live of my clients,” he said.

AGE: 47

Education: Bachelor’s degree in finance from Providence College.

Personal: Married to Michele for 22 years; father to Marisa, 15, and Nicolas, 17. Lives in Jupiter and Nantucket.

Hobbies: Family time, golfing, skiing, running, attending Nicolas’ and Marisa’s sports events.

Career highlight: “Being ranked as one of the top 100 financial advisers in the country at age 39.”

Favorite quote: “It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short time and time again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself a worthy cause; who if he wins knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt