A conversation with Alan Zafran and Eric Harrison, Co-Chief Executive Officers and Founding Partners of IEQ Capital
Alan Zafran and Eric Harrison, 2 of the 3 Co-CEOs and Founding Partners of IEQ Capital, discuss making 2 leaps to independence from Merrill to Luminous then First Republic to IEQ and share their journey and formula for growth they mastered along the way.
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…
It was May of 2008 when one of the biggest breakaway stories to hit the Street emerged: A team of top Merrill advisors with some $2B in assets left the wirehouse to launch RIA Luminous Capital.
It was a leap that would galvanize the independent space, attracting the attention of wirehouse advisors throughout the industry, piquing their curiosity, and demonstrating that there was life outside the big brokerage firms.
Then history was made again in 2012 when the $5.5B Luminous sold to what was then First Republic Bank for an astounding $125mm.
Yet the story didn’t end there. In 2019 there would be another entry in the wealth management industry record books. After growing the business to some $17B, the team would leave the bank, forming two separate independent firms, one of which was IEQ Capital, launched by Robert Skinner and Alan Zafran. Eric Harrison, a former private equity firm leader and First Republic veteran who began working with the Luminous partners in 2013, would join them, and together, the three would serve as founding partners and co-CEOs of IEQ.
It’s an astounding growth story for IEQ, which started with some $8B in assets at inception and is managing in the vicinity of $18B as of this recording.
In this episode, Louis Diamond welcomes Alan and Eric, two of the three Co-CEOs of IEQ, to share their incredible journey, including:
- Making the leap to independence in 2008—and what that was like at a time when resources were non-existent, and few would ever consider it.
- Their unique perspective on the Luminous sale to First Republic—and why they opted to later leave the firm and build their own.
- Building an independent business right from the start—and how their two-time breakaway experience framed what IEQ is today.
- IEQ’s three CEO leadership structure—and how that works in practice.
- Their astounding growth—and what key elements are at the foundation of their success.
- And much more.
It’s stories like this from trailblazers who forged new paths and continue to make their mark on the industry that is most illustrative. But it’s their core concepts around growth, culture, and “building a business for advisors by advisors” that serve as a resounding takeaway—making it an episode to listen to for employee advisors and business owners alike.
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Founding Partner and Co-CEO
Alan Zafran is a Founding Partner and Co-CEO of IEQ Capital and has served as a financial adviser to wealthy families and institutional investors for nearly three decades. Mr. Zafran also sits on the Investment Committee at IEQ Capital.
Mr. Zafran began his career at Goldman Sachs in the Private Client Group. After seven years at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Zafran and his entire team joined Merrill Lynch, where he helped to build the Private Banking and Investment Group. In 2008, Mr. Zafran co-founded Luminous Capital, an independent Registered Investment Advisory firm. At Luminous, he served as a Portfolio Manager and member of the investment committee. Luminous Capital managed $5.5 billion of assets when it was acquired by First Republic Bank in 2012. At First Republic Bank, Mr. Zafran served as Senior Managing Director and Wealth Manager.
Mr. Zafran has been named one of “America’s Top Wealth Advisors” by Forbes. In addition, Barron’s named him one of “America’s Top 100 Financial Advisors” and as one of “America’s Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors”. In 2021, Barron’s named IEQ Capital one of “America’s Top RIA Firms,” citing Mr. Zafran as one of the firm’s top executives.*
Mr. Zafran is active in his community. He is the Secretary, Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors, as well as serves on the Investment Committee for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; is a member of the Board of Directors for Taube Philanthropies; serves as a member of the PIMCO RIA Council; serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Shuchman Lesser Foundation; serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Filoli Center; serves on the Investment Committee for the Board of Trustees of the Portola Valley School Foundation Endowment; serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Craft Contemporary Museum; and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Mathematics and Teaching.
Mr. Zafran holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science from Stanford University, Phi Beta Kappa, and MBA from Harvard Business School.
Founding Partner and Co-CEO
Eric Harrison is a Founding Partner and Co-CEO of IEQ Capital, having served as a financial adviser to wealthy families and foundations since 2008. He is responsible for identifying and structuring alternative investments, constructing client portfolio allocation, implementing tax strategies, and managing overall firm operations. Prior to founding IEQ, Mr. Harrison served as CEO of our predecessor firm, Luminous Capital, founded in 2008 and acquired by First Republic Bank in 2012. Mr. Harrison has been named a “Best-in-State Wealth Advisor” by Forbes as well as one of “America’s Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors” by Barron’s.
Before working within wealth management, Harrison was a principal investor for over 15 years. He first spent seven years in venture capital, ultimately serving as a Partner at Crosspoint Venture Partners, followed by eight years leading controlled buyout investments as a Founding Senior Partner at GI Partners.
Mr. Harrison has raised over $10 billion in alternative investment capital, comprised of commitments to all segments of commercial real estate, growth equity, buyouts, and specialized strategies, including equipment leasing, luxury resorts, and distressed credit funds.
Mr. Harrison has served on numerous corporate and non-profit boards. He currently serves on over 20 limited partner advisory boards, including funds managed by Fortress, Blackstone, Francisco Partners, CB Richard Ellis Investors, Oak Street Partners, Cerberus, and Prime Finance.
Mr. Harrison holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Colorado and MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Mr. Harrison lives in Atherton, California with his wife and two children. Apart from finance, Mr. Harrison enjoys exercise, skiing, pickle ball and travel.