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Entrepreneurs Need Financial Advisors from Early Stage

Jaya Smitha Menon
Monday, October 3, 2011
Jaya Smitha Menon
Kamesh Nagarajan is a Senior Vice President in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Global Wealth Management Division with over 12 years of experience. His team, The Fifth Avenue Group, specializes in helping corporate executives with concentrated stock planning, and in advising physicians and entrepreneurs on comprehensive wealth management issues. Nagarajan began his career in Rochester, New York, practicing law at Harris Beach LLP prior to joining Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Nagarajan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Vassar College and a Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University College of Law.

Entrepreneur’s need for financial advisors

Entrepreneurs never have set income; they never take income out of the company. The incomes they make are minimal. So learning to manage that is very important. Hence, for an entrepreneur it is really important to surround himself with advisors whom he can trust from the early days. Trust only comes with time. Once your company evolves and grows big, everybody wants to be your friend. Getting very strong advisers early on from the personal side and from the business side is very crucial for the entrepreneur. These advisors can help him with questions like “How do I structure my contract”, “How do I go to VCs?”, “How do I divide the shares of the company?” Entrepreneurs usually face liquidity issues. Startups and entrepreneurial ventures need money, but as they grow, they need good strong advisors. For lot of these entrepreneurs they need tax advisors. So they need to work closely with their CPAs on creating tax sufficient investments. I also think that for an entrepreneur it is very important to look at the liability part of the balance sheet. Everyone thinks that wealth Manager is for Managing wealth. It’s true, but they also manage liability, whether it is about the entrepreneur buying a house or leasing a car. Also in future they might think of going public. So how do you go about on the IPO road? There will be a lot of people who will be pitching you at that point because you have built a great company. But if you have an advisory core group already in place, it is easy to plan things such as succession planning, expansion and so on.

Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

I think some of the things that have changed over 13 years is, the financial world has become a lot more complicated today, between tax laws and global investments, the landscape is more sophisticated which means the need for good advice is stronger than it’s ever been. You have economic volatility globally. You get so much information when you pick up the newspaper, or you see the CNBC and Bloomberg. But that lacks good advice. The more the information, more people get over loaded; but then they don’t know what to do. So the financial landscapes are lot more sophisticated with ever changing tax laws and globalization. The need to have good strong advisors has never been stronger.

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