Morningstar Advisor - February/March 2013 - (Page 12)
By Kate Stalter
Seeking to fill a niche, Blair Hodgson DuQuesnay starts a firm
targeting young professionals.
Blair Hodgson DuQuesnay always imagined
herself onstage, as a professional ballet dancer.
She’s on a different sort of stage these
days, playing the lead role in a new advisory
firm focused on clients younger than 50.
The name of her New Orleans venture, Ignite,
is a call to action. “My goal is to engage
younger people to get involved in financial
planning now, because it will make their
lives so much easier,” she says. “Time is on
their side. Making small changes when
you are younger is so much better than having
to play catch-up later.”
Dance to Finance
DuQuesnay, a 2003 University of Georgia
graduate, entered college as a dance major.
To hedge her career bets, she opted
for a second major in the business school. She
especially enjoyed her finance courses and
began an internship at a Smith Barney office in
Athens, Ga. She moved to Atlanta after
graduation, joining a UBS wealth management
office. The office served high-net-worth clients,
as well as foundations, endowments, and
401(k) and pension plans.
Though she was the youngest team member,
DuQuesnay’s strong analytical skills meant
she handled quarterly reviews of asset
managers for the firm’s institutional clients.
12 Morningstar Advisor February/March 2013
It was a valuable learning experience, but
after a year, she transferred to UBS’ New York
office, fulfilling a longtime dream of living
in the city. She studied for the Chartered
Financial Analyst designation, which she was
awarded in 2009. A year later, she became
a Certified Financial Planner.
While in New York, she considered moving
away from wealth management and into
“That was something I struggled with for a long
time—not understanding whether I was
a salesperson, a relationship person, or an
analyst,” she says. “I’m interested in research
and portfolio construction, but I also like
client interaction. I saw a lot of people on
either side of that spectrum, but not a ton of
people who were in the middle, like me.
It took awhile for me to realize it was an option
to pursue both.”
After five years with UBS, she joined a New
York-based independent registered investment
advisor, Wealthstream Advisors. She considers
Wealthstream founder Michael Goodman
a mentor. At the firm, she learned to focus on
comprehensive financial planning, along with
portfolio risk management.
“I was doing complete wealth management for
the first time,” she says. “Not only was
it investment management for clients, but very
detailed, very heavy financial planning.”
DuQuesnay stayed at Wealthstream for about
18 months. She would have stayed longer,
but was getting married and moving to her new
husband’s hometown of New Orleans.
“New Orleans is fantastic. I just fell in love with
it. I’m originally from Montgomery, Ala., so
moving to the South wasn’t some crazy notion.
And I was a little fatigued about flying
every time I wanted to see my family, so I was
open to moving closer,” she says.
Investing in Youth
She joined a New Orleans firm as an advisor,
but couldn’t shake the feeling that she
wanted to replicate the level of service offered
“I took a hard look at myself and where I was.
I had all the tools I needed to be out on my
own, but also I didn’t have a mortgage, I didn’t
have children, I didn’t have a lot of the risk
factors. So I felt like it was the perfect time for
me to take a chance,” she says.
One chief reason for striking out on her own
was that she wanted to develop a practice
that specializes in serving younger clients. Her
Wealthstream clients had been high-networth retirees, and she originally expected
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Morningstar Advisor - February/March 2013
Morningstar Advisor - February/March 2013
Letter From the Editor
Social Media, the Old- Fashioned Way
Do You Use Active Strategies?
How to Buy the Unloved 2013
Morningstar Managers of the Year
Investments á la Carte
Approaches to Absolute-Return Investing
In Agriculture, It’s Good to Be Strong
Yes, There Are Good Active Funds
Where It Could Pay to Be Active
The Active Fund That Defies Obsolescence
The Epitome of an Active Manager
Lines of Communication
The Existence of Market Timing ‘Intelligence’
A Route to Commodities that Bypasses the Futures Market
Best Positioned for Health-Care Reform
Diversified Stock Funds That Earn Their Stars
Our Favorite Mutual Funds
50 Most-Popular Equity ETFs
Undervalued Stocks With Wide Moats
A Twisted Debate
Morningstar Advisor - February/March 2013