Wednesday, December 15, 2010

James R. Cotto >

James R. Cotto , Senior Vice President - Wealth Advisor, Corporate Client Group Director Cotto & Padovani Wealth Strategies Group, Morgan Stanley -Smith Barney Global Wealth Management.

Being Hispanic, does it have any influence on your business?
Yes it certainly does. A major part of our Wealth Advisory practice is dedicated to advising the Latin community concerning financial matters. Every month from now till 2015 an estimated 50,000 Latinos are turning 18 years old*. This means the work force of Latinos is growing substantially and I believe there is an education process that needs to occur. I am committed to the educational process in hopes of elevating awareness for our people.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
My personal mission statement, that I live by every day, is to provide for my family, give my clients the best advice possible, perform good acts of service and kindness, and failure is not an option.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
When my daughter Lucy was born she was born with a cleft palate and an undeveloped chin. This syndrome is called Pierre Robin. She was on an oxygen monitor for 6 months. Sometimes these events tear families apart; however it only made our bond stronger. They say tough times do not create character, they reveal it. I am very proud of my family and how they dealt with this unfortunate occurrence. By the way, she is perfect now!

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I enjoy my life everyday. I am very blessed and I wouldn't change my life at all. I do wish I was taller though!

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be a pediatrician but then I realized that the sight of blood made me queasy.

Tell us about three people that you admire?
My father fought in two world wars and was one of the manliest men I knew. That being said, he was never afraid to show his family affection and compassion. Throughout his life, he also was committed to self improvement, which I would like to think is a quality I have as well.

Ronald Regan for winning the cold war without firing one bullet.

My wife for installing in our children the qualities of honesty, compassion for the less fortunate, and continuously striving to be the best they can be.

For meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I would prefer breakfast or lunch. I try to keep dinner time for my family.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
The biggest sacrifice has been made by my family. Early in my career I didn't have the freedom to pick and choose my work schedule. Although I have traveled throughout the country advising individuals and businesses concerning their financial matters, I have been fortunate for very rarely missing my children's life events.

What is your favorite quote?
"The greatest thing about man is his ability to transcend himself, his ancestry, and his environment and to become what he dreams of being" Tully C. Knowles

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Not at all. I believe one needs to be unconventional to separate oneself from one’s peers and the competition. Unlike in the past, I feel that the American society has become one that embraces each others differences.

Biggest mistake made?
Giving in to my fear and not having the courage to live a passionate life has always been my biggest mistake. I believe, as Thoreau said, "that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them."

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Absolutely. I believe that you "don't go where the path may lead you, go instead where there is not a path and leave a trail."
Over the course of my career I have been acknowledged as a pioneer in several areas as it pertains to a creative approach to advising people concerning their wealth.

About the Company:
I am a Financial Advisor, Senior Vice President and Corporate Client Group Director at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. I am a Managing Partner in a Wealth Advisory practice called The Cotto & Padovani Wealth Strategies Group. We advise Business Owners, Individuals, Corporations and Not For Profits on the creation, protection, management, and the transitioning of their wealth.

*The Pew Research Center

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