February 2017 | 

Advancing Financial Skills: One Financial Advisor’s Journey

Advancing Financial Skills

When Christopher Quinley, a partner in a fast-growing financial services firm in Orange County, California, started thinking a few years ago about ways to take his investment strategies to a new level, he chose Wharton.

What attracted Quinley, 33, to Wharton Executive Education’s Certified Investment Management Analyst™ (CIMA®) program wasn’t just the opportunity to spend a week on an Ivy League campus in Philadelphia, but also to learn new investment techniques from some of the top academic experts in finance.

“The most impressive thing about Wharton is the faculty, and the confidence you gain from working with them” says Quinley, who specifically mentioned his time learning with Richard Marston, James R. F. Guy Professor of Finance at Wharton. In addition to teaching Quinley some novel approaches to investing, Marston confirmed some of the approaches he was already using.  Quinley says the most important thing he brought back to California was a renewed sense of self-assurance.

That feeling inspired Quinley to return to the University of Pennsylvania campus the next autumn and two more autumns after that. The LPL Investment advisor representative recently earned his Certificate of Professional Development (CPD) in Wealth Management through Wharton Executive Education, indicating that he successfully completed four intensive week-long programs, learning investment strategies and other skills from Wharton faculty and other top experts.

Quinley says he feels strongly that the abilities he gained in the four programs are offering him and Liang & Quinley Wealth Management a competitive edge. The firm, which he and Michael Liang launched in 2011, manages approximately $100 million, with many of the firm’s roughly 200 clients recruited by Liang from small business owners in Orange County’s fast-growing Taiwanese community.

“Having the CPD gives me confidence in meetings,” says Quinley, who must develop smart portfolio-management strategies for the clients that his partner, who is the small firm’s marketing specialist, brings into the office. “When I’m meeting with new clients and going through our background and our bios, to be able to mention that I studied portfolio management at Wharton definitely helps build credibility.”

Quinley calls the CIMA® program the “foot in the door” that convinced him to keep working toward his CPD certificate. He says he’d been thinking about ways to hone his ability to woo potential new clients when he saw that Wharton persuasion experts Richard Shell and Mario Moussa offered a weeklong program Strategic Persuasion Workshop: The Art and Science of Selling Ideas. “There’s a lot of financial jargon in the industry,” says Quinley who is a CFP, CIMA, AAMS, and Certified Financial Planner Professional. “To do a good job for our clients, I really wanted to communicate our recommendations as clearly and as simply as I can.”

Quinley says his next program, Investment Strategies and Portfolio Management, provided him with valuable insights into seeking better risk-adjusted returns in different asset classes, particularly real estate and international investments, where he had not previously had much experience. Finally, he attended Private Equity: Investing and Creating Value, eager to learn more about private-equity investing to met the needs of higher net worth investors.

Now that he has his Certificate of Professional Development, Quinley says he’s tempted to continue his education. He’s considering Wharton’s executive MBA program in San Francisco. “I think it would help me to be a better business owner in addition to managing client portfolios,” he said.