Rising Star: Marina Shtyrkov, Associate Director, Wealth Management, Cerulli Associates

What do literature, ballet and data analysis have in common? A devotion to structure, process, and the power of telling a compelling story.

Marina Shtyrkov (Courtesy photo)

Marina Shtyrkov

(Courtesy photo)

In the run-up to naming the winners of the inaugural RIA Intel Awards on September 14, 2022, RIA Intel will publish short features highlighting the accomplishments of this year’s nominees and Rising Stars.

In 2015, a college grad with an English degree joined Cerulli Associates, a Boston-based research and consulting firm specializing in asset management and distribution trends founded in 1992. Today, Marina Shtyrkov, 29, the associate director in the firm’s wealth management practice, is among the Rising Stars named in the inaugural RIA Intel Awards. Here, she shares some highlights of her journey, edited for length and clarity.

What’s your background?

I was an English major. I never considered myself a numbers person. But the more I learned about data analysis and survey design, the clearer it became how similar it is to what I studied. The analysis of literature isn’t that different than the analysis of data. It’s all about the story that you’re ultimately putting together.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I started in this role right out of college and found many opportunities for growth. It’s so rewarding to manage a team and help others have that experience. Coaching, training, and mentoring the younger analysts has been tremendously rewarding. Seeing one of my reports take center stage to present findings recently was very rewarding to see.

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What’s the most important trend you’re seeing in wealth management?

Differentiation. RIAs know that soon, being independent and fee-based won’t be differentiators. There’s a push to incorporate more financial planning across all types of firms, and make advice more holistic. With channel lines blurring, it’s getting more difficult to differentiate.

RIAs who are thinking ahead are asking, what else could I do to serve my clients? How am I positioning myself in the bigger landscape of the industry? What new frontiers of differentiation can set me apart? To answer this, many are adding digital advice platforms, as well as trust, concierge, and lifestyle services, for a few examples.

Do you have a passion topic?

Diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI. We didn’t cover this when I started at Cerulli, and that stuck out to me as a gap. One of my earliest opportunities was developing a market-sizing model to determine how many financial advisors across channels are women. When we found that women make up about 18 percent of advisors, that was the moment when I realized how powerful our research could be. Just knowing there’s few women is valid, but seeing the number, 18 percent, is extremely compelling. We also did qualitative interviews with women advisors in that research, and we updated it with race and ethnicity data in 2020. This has been one of my most exciting, rewarding projects.

What is something about you that most people don’t know?

I danced at the Boston Ballet school for 10 years. I still dance when I can. Ballet is an interesting combination of creativity. It has the artistic nature of a dance form, but also structure and theory, and that combination has always been interesting to me. I’m process oriented. Data analysis is similar to ballet in that way. With data analysis, there’s a process and you can’t skip steps. The steps go in a certain order for a reason. If you follow those steps, it all comes together. Same thing with ballet.

The inaugural RIA Intel Awards is a celebration of financial advisors, wealth management firms, and industry leaders. Winners will be on announced on RIAIntel.com September 14, 2022 and will be honored in-person at upcoming RIA Institute Forums.

If you have any questions, please contact your relationship manager at II or RIA Intel.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the winners would be announced at a dinner and ceremony at the Metropolitan Club of New York on September 14, 2022.

However, due to an unanticipated scheduling conflict with the venue, we regret that Institutional Investor’s inaugural RIA Intel Awards Dinner & Gala on September 14 in New York will not take place. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The Awards themselves remain unchanged. Winners will still be on announced on RIAIntel.com on September 14, and will be honored in-person at upcoming RIA Institute Forums.

Each winner will also be the subject of a feature story on RIAIntel.com.

Ron Geraci is a Senior Writer at Institutional Investor Thought Leadership Studio and based in New York City.

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