More than Sufficient Funds
Scott Holstein takes the fear out of wealth management for well-positioned investors
by Bill Donahue


“Jane” remembers growing up in a household of relatively modest means, her father working as a dentist and her mother plying her trade as an accomplished artist. Mom and Dad chose to invest most of their available earnings in their children’s education to make sure Jane and her brother could secure richer, fuller lives in careers they loved.


Jane went off to Harvard Law School to pursue a career in law, while her brother carved out a life as an academic. Then, as Jane’s parents inched closer to retirement age, they enlisted the help of Scott Holstein. Although both of Jane’s parents are now deceased, the investments Holstein helped them make yielded the security of knowing their financial assets would outlast them.


“Rather amazingly, Scott made a set of investments for my parents and managed a bond portfolio for them so they had more than sufficient funds to last their entire lives,” says Jane, now a prominent lawyer in Washington, D.C., whose eminence prevents her from sharing her identity. “I was prepared to take over the obligation of supporting my parents, and I never had to.


“Those investments provided interest and preserved the principal for two people who lived a worry-free retirement having started with not that much,” she continues, “and I’m very grateful for that.”


Such stories are common among Holstein’s roster of clients. Holstein began his career in 1987 on Wall Street working as an executive financial advisor for a Manhattan-based firm before realizing he wanted to do something more gratifying. In 2001 he affiliated with Walnut Street Securities and launched Prudent Wealth Management Inc., specializing in financial, retirement and estate planning, and providing portfolio advisory and other financial services to individual and corporate clients.


“I get a lot satisfaction out of helping people get from A to B,” he says. “When people come to me, we talk about their goals and objectives, about what has happened to them in the past and about what’s prompting a change. It’s almost always some type of life-changing situation: death, divorce, retirement—usually some type of event on the negative or positive side that gets them thinking about longer-term issues.”


A CPA with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University, Holstein is also a Certified Financial Planner professional, who holds several investment and insurance licenses. In addition, he was named a Five Star Wealth Manager in Philadelphia magazine’s November 2011 issue, and one of the top 250 Wealth Managers in America in the October 2008 issue of Worth magazine; he is also listed as an Honor Roll advisor with the Paladin Registry.


Value Added

Most of Holstein’s business comes through referrals from clients and their estate attorneys and CPAs. On average, his clients have $2 million or more of investable assets, but he will gladly work with a client who has less given the right conditions. Mostly he looks for relationships in which he can add significant value.


“Most people with $1 million or more to invest don’t leave [their advisors] for performance issues; it’s usually a matter of service or accessibility,” he says. “Our goal is to provide Ritz-Carlton service to our clients. I like to work with 100 to 125 families at one time, so I might be working with parents in their 70s or 80s, their children in their 40s or 50s, as well as their 17-year-old grandson who’s just getting started or 25-year-old granddaughter who’s looking to make her first serious investments. A family who is a client can call us for every aspect of their financial life.”


“My goal is once we take on a client to be working with them for the rest of their lives—or for the rest of mine,” he says jokingly.


Dr. Brian Lewy, an optometrist whose practice is based in Long Island, N.Y., is a good example. Dr. Lewy has been working with Holstein for more than 15 years … so far.


“When my father-in-law passed away, my mother-in-law had been referred to Scott,” he says. “She wanted guidance because my father-in-law had taken care of things, financially. Scott took care of her; he wanted to know where she was in life and what she wanted out of it in the future.


“From the first encounter, I knew he was the type of [advisor] I was looking for,” he says. “He asked, ‘What do you want to be?’ and ‘Where do you want to go?’ and he works within those boundaries. … In a way, he foots the bill for what you want to do in life.”


Now 53 years old, Dr. Lewy would like to retire by the age of 60 or 65. Holstein has skillfully prepared him for the coming transition, taking into account the lifestyle he and his wife lead, the approximate amount of money they will need to live comfortably for at least 30 years after retirement and the legacy he would like to leave his family, which includes two children—one of whom is in college, the other in law school.


“I’m not a risky type of guy, so I don’t need to make 20 percent a year, and Scott has worked within those guidelines,” he says. “When the market has bottomed out, I haven’t lost as much, and I’ve had steady growth even in the really difficult times. … No one has ever given me any reason to make me think about going anywhere elsewhere.”


Linda, a widower from New York who preferred not to share her last name because of her family’s prominence, can say the same thing. Linda “inherited” Holstein 20 years ago when her husband—a client of Holstein’s—passed away. What struck her most about Holstein were his sincerity and the fact that, while other financial advisors were trying to woo her away with grand promises, he advised patience.


“I received calls and visits from so many financial people,” she says, “and Scott was the only one who said, ‘Don’t do anything for six months.’ At that time I needed to be educated about financial matters, and he educated me. Since then he has been accessible, consistent and anything but high pressure. You develop a relationship with Scott that’s lasting.”


She suggests Holstein’s steadiness has made her a much shrewder investor.


“I’m not as nervous about investing and I’m not greedy either, and he understands that,” she says. “I’m a senior citizen, so keeping what I have rather than risking too much is my primary concern. I think I’m realistic, too, and Scott understands that and works along with you beautifully. He’s wise beyond his years.”


In Holstein’s world, the advisor-client relationship begins with a thorough fact-finding mission so he can gain an intimate understanding of what’s important to the client, as well as lifestyle and family dynamics, risk tolerance and other critical elements that will help determine investment recommendations. He also considers the client’s investable assets—specifically, how to grow and protect them—from three distinct yet complementary perspectives: accumulation, distribution and legacy.


“My objective is to know every aspect of my clients’ lives,” he says. “Where we’re the most successful is having those hard discussions up front to understand someone’s risk tolerance, objectives, fears and misconceptions to nail down what is realistic, then putting it in writing and setting the right expectations from the beginning. … That’s the glue that builds strong relationships over time.”


“Most of the people I work with are already wealthy to some extent and just want to know they’re going to be OK,” he continues. “They also want to know that, after they are gone, their heirs and beneficiaries will enjoy most of what they have built and keep any third parties out as much as possible. We can help them do that.”


Jane, the Washington, D.C., attorney whose parents Holstein helped retire comfortably, remains awestruck—and thankful—over the post-retirement lifestyle her parents were able to enjoy and, in part, impart to their children.


“I was amazed that my parents were able to retire without fear,” she says. “[Holstein] is very hands on and very personal, and he knows the needs of his clients and is very attentive to those needs. I think that’s extraordinary in this world. … I can’t actively invest with Scott because of my line of work, but if I could I would.”


Walnut Street Securities Inc.

221 Street Road, Feasterville, PA 19053

Phone: 800-458-9330 | 215-942-8640




Securities and investment advisory services offered through Walnut Street Securities, Inc. (Member FINRA/SIPC), a registered investment advisor. Financial Planning and investment advisory services offered through PFG a registered investment advisor. Prudent Wealth Management Inc. (PWM), PFG and WSS are unaffiliated. The Paladin Registry 5 Star Advisor ranking is based on criteria determined by the Paladin Registry, years of financial services experience, education, number of industry degrees/designations, clean compliance/regulatory record and industry licenses and registrations. Inclusion in the Paladin Registry is not an endorsement of the advisor by the Paladin Registry, nor is it indicative of the future performance or quality of investment advice provided by the advisor. The 5 Star Award is granted by Five Star Professional, an independent third-party marketing firm. This award may not represent the experience of all clients and is not indicative of future performance or success. This award stems strictly from client experiences as an insurance or securities product customer.