A conversation with Ross Gerber, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management
The co-founder of Gerber Kawasaki weighs in on everything from what it takes to build a $2.2B mega-RIA and the power of freedom in the independent space, on to crypto, digitization, and ETFs, plus Elon Musk and Tesla.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed by the guests on this podcast are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Diamond Consultants. Neither Diamond Consultants nor the guests on this podcast are compensated in any way for their participation.
About this episode…
The name Ross Gerber has become a familiar one in the wealth management industry.
No doubt, his popularity was fueled by his direct and outspoken nature once he began to publicly challenge the thoughts around everything from crypto to digitization to Elon Musk and Tesla.
Yet Ross first established his place in the industry as the co-founder of the $2.2B RIA Gerber Kawasaki—a firm that he and partner Danilo Kawasaki started with $50mm in client assets just over a dozen years ago.
Ross got his start in wealth management at Sun America, which was acquired by AIG. Then the 2008 financial crisis hit—and he and Danilo said, “We have to start our own firm.”
In a conversation with Mark Casady, the CEO of LPL Financial at the time, they shared their vision of a firm that would leverage marketing, media, and technology in a way that no one else was currently doing.
It was 2010, and as Casady saw it, they were the future.
They “negotiated their freedom,” as Ross put it, and spun out of AIG (which later became SagePoint) to LPL’s broker dealer model.
Things really took off when independence bestowed Ross with the freedom to share his thoughts in the major media, including CNN, CNBC, Fox, Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal.
Yet it’s his deep-rooted investment knowledge and business strategy that helped propel the growth of Gerber Kawasaki—innovative thinking that continues to drive the success of the firm.
In this special episode, Ross discusses his extraordinary journey with Louis Diamond, including:
- Making their way through the 2008 crisis—and how he and Danilo ultimately built a $2.2B mega-firm.
- The freedom to innovate—and why building their own RIA was the best option to achieve their goals.
- Thinking differently—and how creating a truly unique value proposition was a game-changer for Gerber Kawasaki.
- Collaboration and idea creation—and why Ross feels getting people together in the office is critical.
- Ross’s thoughts on crypto—and why working in “both financial systems” is smart for the firm.
- Starting an ETF—and what they learned in the process.
- Building a media presence—and what it really takes to become a public figure.
- The cost of advertising—and why social media and video proved more effective for their firm.
- Plus, what drove his public discourse with Elon Musk—and why he recommends buying Tesla stock today.
Through independence, Gerber Kawasaki found the freedom to market and innovate their way to better serve their clients and become a $2.2B enterprise. In this episode, Ross outlines their process and offers sound ideas to help advisors re-think their business processes and goals.
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Co-Founder, President and CEO
Ross oversees Gerber Kawasaki’s corporate and investment management operations as well as serves individual clients. Ross has become one of the most influential investors on social and in traditional media. His investment ideas and advice have made him a regular in global business news as well on many of the most popular investment podcasts. He is a regular on Bloomberg, Reuters, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, CNN, CNBC and Cheddar TV. He has appeared on many of the most popular podcasts including Meet Kevin, HyperChange TV, The Dave Portnoy Show, The Pomp Podcast and many more.
Ross and the Gerber Kawasaki team oversee $2.2 billion of investments as of 1/03/22 focused on technology, clean energy and transportation, consumer discretionary, media, and entertainment companies for clients and the firm. Gerber Kawasaki is a leader in Fintech innovation leveraging technology and social media to work with a large diverse client base providing financial advice in scale. GK has grown to over 10,000 clients and was listed in 2020 as one of the fastest-growing companies in Los Angeles according to the LABJ. GK received several Diversity and Inclusion Awards in 2020 within the financial industry and prides itself in representing the diverse community of Southern California.
GK is a leader in providing investment advice for the younger generation through its Get Invested program. GK is the first major RIA to partner with Gemini and began offering Digital Assets to clients in April 2021. Ross is an expert in online marketing and social media as well as a co-developer of the company’s app for IOS, my-moneypage. In the 10 years since its founding, Gerber Kawasaki has grown to 46 employees and $2.2 billion in AUM as of 1/03/22. Ross received his BA in Communications from the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania concentrating in Business Law at the Wharton School of Business, graduating class of 1993. Ross also received a second concentration in Classical Music Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and attended the Grove School of Music. Ross was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and attended Brentwood High School with the graduating class of 1989.
Ever since he was a child, Ross has had a passion for investing and music. He began learning and following investments as a 13-year-old after receiving Apple and Disney stock as a gift for his birthday. His passion for learning and investing grew as he followed the bull market of the ’80s throughout his high school education. During college, Ross pursued his degree as well as his passion for music, forming several local bands.
Upon graduating college, Ross returned to Los Angeles in 1994 and joined an independent investment firm affiliated with SunAmerica Securities. In 1998, at the age of 27, Ross received the Archon and Million Dollar Branch Award* and was the youngest million-dollar branch manager in SunAmerica’s history. In March of 1999, Ross began overseeing 15 branches and over 200 advisors for SunAmerica securities/ AIG Advisor Group.
In 2008, the financial crisis caused the collapse of several major financial institutions and the government bailout of others, challenging the existing state of affairs within the financial industry. Navigating these trying times, Ross understood the importance of focusing on the client’s best interest utilizing a modern and unbiased approach to serving the client community. It was during this time that Ross developed his vision for a new type of investment firm, one free of conflicts of interests and focused on serving a diverse client base using technology and leveraging new media. In 2010, Ross and his business partner, Danilo Kawasaki, felt it was the opportune time to start their firm, Gerber Kawasaki Inc., aligned with this client-centric mission. Built on the mission to provide clients with customized, objective financial advice, Gerber Kawasaki began with a core group of advisors and specialized in working with two groups of clients, baby boomers, and Generation X/Millennials. Ross and Danilo started Gerber Kawasaki with the goal of using online marketing, social media, and GK’s financial app, my-MoneyPage, to attract new clients and enhance the client experience as well as to focus on a new market for financial advice, Generation X/Millennials.
In his free time, Ross continues to play music and perform with his band. He is a co-creator and managing member of Cocoon Music – Malibu as well as an advisor and investor in NoCap Shows, live streaming music companies. Ross is also on the executive board and a past president of the Guardians Of the Jewish Home in Los Angeles.