Ed Moldaver, Barron's 19TH- Ranked advisor nationally, probably wouldn’t even be a U.S. citizen had his parents not made a bold decision, in 1978, to emigrate from Soviet-block Ukraine. “I was living in George Orwell’s 1984 and didn’t know it,” he says. “Fortunately for me, my parents did.”
Sitting down with Barron’s advisor, Moldaver recounts his path from the New York Mercantile’s commodities pits to Stifel, where he advises billionaires. He also makes the case for value stocks and MLPs, and ex- plains why it’s harder than ever for young advisors to get a foothold in the industry.
Q: You immigrated from Kiev in 1978. Tell me about that, including what Ukraine was like.
A: My family left Ukraine when I was 11. As a kid, what you see is what you know. There was no internet, so to a kid my reality appeared normal. Long food lines, shortage of toilet paper, constant brainwashing at school and indoctrination into the Communist Party, all was a daily ritual. Only when we were out of there did I realize how backwards and inefficient that system actually is. I was living in George Orwell’s 1984 and didn’t know it. Fortunately for me, my parents did.
Moldaver and Jimmy Lee, his right hand for over 20 years, and their team, which oversaw $3 billion in clients’ assets, were invited to join Rockefeller Capital Man- agement, the original family office of John D. Rockefeller, at Manhattan’s Rocke- feller Plaza. For the past 135 years, Moldaver explained, the oversized family office only served the Rockefeller family and others of great wealth. It now serves several hundreds of Moldaver’s clients as well as several other talented teams recently in- vited to the platform.
“This place is a game changer,” he said. “Utilizing the family office services and the co-investment opportunities is like nothing I have seen in my 30 year career.”