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Raj Sharma Among Forbe's List Of America's Top Wealth Advisers

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Forbes recently released its 2016 list of America’s Top Wealth Advisers and a quartet of Indian Americans cracked the list.

Among the Indian Americans named to the list were Raj Sharma, Ash Chopra, Sonny Kothari and Raju Pathak.

The 200-member list, unveiled Aug. 3, is based on an algorithm of qualitative and quantitative data, rating thousands of wealth advisers with a minimum of seven years of experience, Forbes said.

Raj Sharma was the top-ranking Indian American adviser on the list, coming in at No. 17.

The Boston, Mass.-based Merrill Lynch-Private Banking & Investment Group adviser typically has an account size of $10 million and a new account minimum of $5 million. All told, Sharma has $6 billion in assets under management.

A graduate of Nizam College in Hyderabad, Osmania University School of Management and Emerson College, Sharma has been with Merrill Lynch for 29 years.

Chopra, also of Merrill Lynch-Private Banking & Investment Group, though in its San Francisco, Calif.-based office, was the next Indian American on the list, at No. 129.

According to Forbes, Chopra typically handles an account of roughly $30 million. His new account minimum is $10 million. Chopra's total assets under management are at $2.5 billion.

Chopra currently serves as the managing director of wealth management at Merrill Lynch, having been with the company since April 2004.

He is a graduate of Kettering University and the University of Michigan.

Kothari, a wealth management adviser and managing director of wealth management at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, a Bank of America Corporation, came in at No. 176 on the Forbes list.

Based in the company’s Brea, Calif., office, Kothari has a typical account size of $3 million and has a new account minimum of $1 million. The adviser has $935 million in total assets under management.

A graduate of the University of California school system, Kothari has spent his entire career with Merrill Lynch, dating back to 1990.

Raju Pathak, an adviser out of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management's Boston, Mass.-based office, was No. 184 on the list.

The Indian American has a typical account balance of $7 million, with a new account minimum of $1 million. Altogether, he manages $1 billion in total assets.

Pathak, who serves as a managing director at Morgan Stanley, has been with the company for 28 years. He is a graduate of Babson College.

The list was topped by Jeff Erdmann of Merrill Lynch-Private Banking & Investment Group. Erdmann's typical account size is $36.7 million and he asks for new accounts to be a minimum of $2.5 million. He manages a total of $5.5 billion in assets.

Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management's Brian C. Pfeifler, UBS Private Wealth Management's Christopher Errico, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management's Andy Chase and Merrill Lynch-Private Banking & Investment Group's Patrick Dwyer rounded out the top five.

The rankings weighs factors like revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience and best practices learned through telephone and in-person interviews. Portfolio performance, however, is not a criteria due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data, the publication said.

A total of 11,235 people were nominated. Another 4,000 were asked to complete an online survey, with 2,500 of those broached for a telephone interview. Finally, the list was pared down to the final group of 200 following in-person interviews with 425 advisers.

The list of advisers collectively manage $675 billion, serving clients that range from Silicon Valley billionaires and Wall Street titans to small business owners and family fortunes.

Some wealth managers provide a do-it-all concierge service, handling everything from estate planning and taxes to paying bills, Forbes said. Others focus more on investments and getting clients into exclusive opportunities like top-performing hedge funds or pre-IPO startups, it added.

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