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Van Dusen ranks among nation’s top advisers

Pittsford-based Lori Van Dusen ranks 63rd on the new Barron’s list of the top 100 independent financial advisers. 

Van Dusen, a managing director at the Pittsford office of Convergent Wealth Advisors LLC, is on the independent list for the first time because of her move to Convergent in August 2008 after being managing director of investments for Citi Smith Barney, a division of Citigroup Global Markets Inc. 

Van Dusen is the only financial adviser in Western New York to make the Barron’s list. 

The list of top independents was announced Aug. 31. It includes registered investment advisers and advisers at boutique brokerages such as Convergent. Barron’s rankings are based on assets under management, revenues the advisers generate for their firm and the quality of their practices, officials said. 

Van Dusen is among many advisers who have transitioned to smaller firms in the wake of the current financial crisis. Some $200 billion was transferred to independents in 2008, Barron’s reports, from large firms such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. 

"I think it’s given me greater flexibility," Van Dusen said. "It’s given my team greater flexibility in servicing clients. And we have deeper resources in terms of what we do in our marketplace. We have greater research and technology customized to the higher-end clients we deal with, such as institutions and high-net-worth families." 

Van Dusen and her staff oversee some $4.2 billion in assets. More than half of the assets are from colleges, universities and prep schools. The rest is from high-net-worth families. 

"Big firms are trying to cater to a lot of different types of clients," Van Dusen said. "Our firm is a boutique firm. It’s set up for very high-net-worth families and institutions. I think that’s made it a little bit easier to deal with all of the (current economic) issues." 

The system used by Barron’s to rank advisers gives less weight to assets and revenues from institutional clients. 

"For whatever reason, they discount that," Van Dusen said. "I don’t know why they do that. But we have a bunch of colleges and universities that we advise. They’re ranking us against advisers that exclusively deal with high net worth. I think they’re going to combine the lists at some point." 

The list includes advisers who manage assets of all sizes. The minimum net worth of Van Dusen’s clients is $10 million. 

"Anybody who can hang a shingle up is an independent adviser," she said. "There are tons of them." 

Van Dusen ranked 84th on Barron’s 2008 all-inclusive list of male and female advisers, but she did not make the 2009 list because of her new status as an independent. 

She was fifth on Barron’s 2008 list of female advisers but was not ranked this year because she has to wait one year to requalify after leaving Citi. 

Van Dusen and David Mattia-a director and senior vice president with Citigroup Institutional Consulting, founded by Van Dusen-left Citigroup to open a Convergent office at Schoen Place. 

Both are managing directors for Convergent. Van Dusen is one of seven members of the executive management team for the firm, which is based in Rockville, Md., and lists nearly $10 billion under management. 

Convergent founder and CEO Steven Lockshin ranks second on Barron’s list of independent advisers. George Dunn, a Convergent managing director in Rockville, ranks 24th. 

"We are proud to be the only registered investment adviser in the nation with three individuals recognized on this list," Lockshin said in a statement. "We have an outstanding team at Convergent, and this honor was achieved as a result of their hard work and commitment to our clients." 

[email protected] / 585-546-8303


09/11/09 (C) Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303.


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