Rowen doesn't pick individual stocks or equity funds to invest in. Rather, he and his team see their role as helping clients design their portfolios and then finding the best institutional, private equity and hedge fund managers to carry out the investment strategy. For clients with major stakes in companies they have founded, Rowen uses derivatives to hedge the stock.
"We do very little of the investing ourselves. We're almost like a financial quarterback," he said.
Like many of his contemporaries in the 1980s, Rowen did summer internships on Wall Street. When the October 1987 stock market crash hit, Rowen was in college at the University of Southern California. "Things got a little tighter back home that semester," he recalled.
While at USC, Rowen interned at Shearson Lehman, and after graduation went to work for the brokerage. But Rowen wasn't entirely happy there. "It was a large retail focus firm and I really wanted to be in private wealth."
As soon as he could, Rowen jumped ship and, in May 1993, landed at Alex. Brown, where he immediately began managing the portfolios of high net worth individuals.
His timing was impeccable, right as the technology sector was beginning to take off. Alex. Brown, since acquired by Deutsche Bank, was the underwriter for some of the major technology company initial public offerings.
"I was introduced to the founders of technology companies. My career path took off with the wealth creation in technology in the mid and late-1990s," he said.
But Rowen is ever-mindful of diversification, even when it comes to his own client base. With two-thirds of his clients still in the technology sector, Rowen is now focused more on expanding into other arenas. He's branching out into the entertainment industry and also seeking clients in other industries.
Through all this, Rowen still finds time to spend with his wife, Karee, and two young daughters. With what he considers an exceptionally strong team behind him and the latest in technological innovations, Rowen can do much of his work while away from his downtown office.
Indeed, for this story, Rowen was reached while on vacation with his children at Legoland in Carlsbad.
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