A Career in Finance Driven by Relationships

Sol Gindi (BS ‘92, MBA '94), Head of Wealth Advisors, Wells Fargo
Sol Gindi Headshot

Sol Gindi (BS ‘92, MBA ‘94), head of wealth advisors at Wells Fargo, shares how he juggled working full-time with being an undergraduate student, how relationships have led the way forward through career curveballs, the power of empowering people, and how he likes to spend his free time (hint, it’s with Taylor Swift).



Tell us about your career path. 

My career has been driven in large part by the relationships I built over the years. It alI started with Republic National Bank, where I began working as an undergraduate student at NYU Stern. I stayed for about 10 years until HSBC bought the bank and I decided to move to Bear Stearns because of the executives I knew there. Then in 2008, I was fortunate to be brought over to JP Morgan Chase as the CFO of investment banking. Because JP Morgan helps employees gain exposure to different parts of the organization, I eventually moved into consumer banking and wealth management as CFO and eventually became the COO. I also spent time on the investment side as chief administrative officer of wealth management including private banking.

When the opportunity to move over to Wells Fargo came up, I made the move because of my relationships with Stern alum Charlie Scharf (MBA ‘91), CEO of Wells Fargo, and Barry Summers, who leads Wells Fargo’s Wealth and Investment Management division, who I both knew from JP Morgan. The chance to transform Wells Fargo was also appealing. But in all my career decisions, it’s been the people who were the deciding factor.  
How would you describe your approach to leadership?  


I have a very people-oriented leadership style. Over the years, as I’ve moved up and have had to manage larger groups with people who are experts in areas that I am not, I’ve learned that it’s about building relationships and also empowering people. Plus, I focus on teamwork and collaboration. If everybody knows what the goals are, and we measure and meet about them on a regular basis, then we have a chance to achieve them.


How are you seeing artificial intelligence (AI) playing a role in wealth management?


Wealth management is about relationships but I imagine there will be a point where AI helps our advisors more efficiently gather the information they need to advise clients. It’s likely that AI will eventually be able to offer faster and better insights, leading to even better advice that can be obtained more efficiently. But it’s not likely to replace the human interactions that build trust.  


Sol Gindi on stage


What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career so far?


When you work in wealth management, you can have a big impact on someone’s life in helping plan for major life milestones, such as kid’s college, buying a home, and retiring. You have a role in helping clients achieve those goals, so it can feel very rewarding. When I was the COO at JP Morgan, my name was on the cashier’s checks which people took to the closing when purchasing their first home. In some way I was there with them for that big occasion, and for years I would have friends sending me messages about that. It was a nice feeling.  


What is the best career advice you received?


In the words of Maya Angelou, people will remember you for how you made them feel, not for what you said. With that, I believe it is important to treat everyone with respect and to listen. Making people feel empowered and that they belong leads them to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. They know their contributions are valued. Creating that type of environment and dialogue is very important. 


Where did you grow up and what did you aspire to do as an adult? 


I grew up in Brooklyn, NY near Midwood, where I still live because my family is all there. When I was growing up, I was interested in music and movies and could imagine myself being a film producer. I’m still into music and concerts which I often attend with my young adult kids.


Why did you choose NYU Stern?


I went to Stern for the undergraduate program and was able to do a five-year program that included the MBA. I had an untraditional time at Stern because I was working full-time during my degree. I was lucky that I could take classes in the morning, then eat lunch with friends before heading off to my job. It ended up being helpful to be in school, because I would learn things in class and then apply the skills to my work in real time.


What experiences or learnings from Stern have served you well in your career?  


I got so much out of my education at Stern. I gained both technical skills but also learned a lot about working with people because of all the group projects we had to do–which in many ways is similar to the work environment. I was a bit of a math geek back then, so I took a bunch of capital markets and options pricing classes. My second job was on the treasury desk where we were pricing for mortgage backed securities, so you had to understand optionality. I was able to take what I learned in class and immediately apply it.


Where did you go for your last vacation? Where to next?


We went to the Grand Canyon and Sedona in Arizona and plan to visit Banff and Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies this June.


Last book you read that you would recommend?


I’m a bit of a history buff and just read Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin.


How do you spend your down time? Any hobbies?


I like going to concerts and to see music. I’ve taken my kids to see Taylor Swift a few times in different cities. We just saw Zach Bryan and plan to see Lainey Wilson this summer.