The Twists and Turns of a Research Career

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The following is based on an interview conducted by Richard G. Lipstein, a U.S. based executive search consultant with Gilbert Tweed International specializing in financial services recruiting.

Terry Gardner, having spent five years in the Marine Corps, finds the stress on Wall Street less than “life threatening”.  Now a Portfolio Strategist at C. J. Lawrence, Gardner and I spent a few hours together recently discussing his twenty year plus Wall Street career.  He has had as varied a career as anyone I have ever met in my almost thirty years in executive search.

A self-described “Reagan baby”, Gardner joined the military rather than follow his father’s footsteps to Wall Street. He experienced Desert Storm and served stints in Saudi Arabia and Somalia. Gardner trained Saudi and Kuwaiti forces and was in charge of 100 marines and was in a war zone at twenty-three.

After leaving the Marines in 1993, Gardner then entered Wall Street as an Associate Equity Analyst at Alex. Brown and Sons. A year later he joined Deutsche Bank as an Equity Portfolio Strategist with the well-known strategist Jim Moltz.  Moltz had been the Chief Executive Officer at C. J. Lawrence, a sell-side firm acquired by Morgan Grenfell in 1986 and by Deutsche Bank three years later.  Moltz and C. J. Lawrence would come up later in Gardner’s career.  We’ll get to that shortly.

During his eleven years at Deutsche Bank, Gardner was in the middle of any number of momentous events at both the firm and in the industry. He moved back to research – covering Railroads and Ground Transportation – and then took on a series of management positions first in North America and then globally.  Gardner served as the internal point person for Deutsche Bank’s post-Spitzer settlement during a period when the cash equities business was being forced to be on its own and no longer subsidized by investment banking.

His job pretty much complete by 2005, Gardner elected to leave Deutsche Bank and become an independent research consultant and entrepreneur.  He will admit that he had a mixed record but it was not for lack of trying.

Gardner founded S-2 Research, Inc., which attempted to build an outsourced independent research model to create proprietary research for institutional clients. He then became President of Soleil Securities in 2008, an institutional broker-dealer and global aggregator of independent research.  The firm had been established in 2003 and included the savvy investors Bessemer and Bain.  Gardner restructured Soleil’s economics and added additional trading and capital markets capabilities. The firm was eventually sold to Ticonderoga Securities in 2010 after an attempted sale to Citadel failed a year earlier.  Ticonderoga itself went out of business in 2011.

Both positions proved a couple of things to Gardner – institutions were only willing to pay so much for research and what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in the real world.

After a brief stint at ITG Research, Gardner reestablished his own consulting firm and worked with several clients in research and wealth management.

Jim Moltz then reentered Gardner’s life.  Actually a current Partner of Moltz’s, Bernard Koepp, both now at the recently reconstituted C. J. Lawrence.  C. J. Lawrence itself has had a storied existence.  One of the longest surviving names on Wall Street, the firm was established in 1864.  It came back to life last year as a registered investment advisor after the firm’s principals had spent sixteen years with ISI.

Gardner is now back to being a portfolio strategist in addition to managing client money and running the firm’s investment committee and model portfolio.  He is pleased to be working with Moltz again. He considers Moltz “one of the most thoughtful, brilliant and consummate professionals” he has known in his career.  And a gentleman.

When I asked Gardner if there were any general themes in his own career, he gave a thoughtful response.   Gardner feels his military experience has given him the tools to not only make him a good investment professional but also to be a better leader and decision maker.   He also takes great pride in having tried to stay in regular contact with those who have helped him during his career.

Having come full circle back to C. J. Lawrence twenty-two years after his first incarnation, Gardner’s latter observation is undoubtedly a true one.   I have found Gardner to be a gentleman as well in a business not known to be full of them.

Nice guys don’t always finish last despite Leo Durocher’s observation.

 

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About Author

Richard G. Lipstein is a Managing Director at Gilbert Tweed International, a global retained executive search firm. As a member of the firm’s financial services practice, Mr. Lipstein is well recognized for his record of achievement placing professionals in a broad range of functional and product areas ranging from Private Wealth/Investment Management and Investment Banking to Research, Sales and Trading and C-Level positions at private equity portfolio companies. Before entering the executive search profession in 1989, he spent a combined seven years as an executive with ABC Inc. and a mergers and acquisitions banker with the boutique Henry Ansbacher Ltd. Mr. Lipstein recently stepped down as Vice -Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA), one of the largest affiliates of the global CFA Institute. He had previously served as Chairman of its Career Development Committee where he produced and moderated numerous seminars on current events and relevant trends in the investment and banking professions. In 2009 Richard received a Volunteer of the Year Award for his contribution to this 10,000+ member organization. He is a graduate of the City University of New York and received an MBA with Distinction from Pace University Lubin School of Business. Mr. Lipstein is regularly quoted in the media, including, among others, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Reuters, Bloomberg and eFinancialCareers. He has appeared on TV and radio as well.

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