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Advice from Ron Lee, Investment Management Division

Ron Lee is a partner in our Investment Management Division in Hong Kong and head of Private Wealth Management in Asia Pacific. He shares his thoughts on the private wealth business there and how a career is a “marathon of sprints.”

What is the wealth management business like in Asia? 
There are more billionaires in Asia than there are in the US. While this presents a large and fast-growing market opportunity, it’s also a younger, different market. Asian clients tend to tie up a large percentage of their wealth in generally illiquid investments, such as their businesses, property or private equity. In that sense, investors in Asia tend to have a more aggressive investment style than their American or European counterparts.

What are the keys to a long and successful career?
I’ve been at the firm for 19 years and in the industry for 27. Earlier in my career, I used to think that you have to look at your career like a marathon. Lately I’ve been coming to the view that to maintain longevity, it helps to look at your career as a marathon of sprints. Each year you have to perform at a high level, recover, and prepare yourself to perform again for the next year.

Having something outside of work is important to maintaining longevity. For me, it’s all about family. Specifically, I’ve found two things that have helped me maintain a work-life balance together with my family. The first is to just listen to my wife -- always. She tends to be better at regulating me than I am at regulating myself. Second, I try to approach my personal life with the same level of attention and care as I do work. If I wouldn’t pick up my phone during the middle of a client meeting, why would I do it during dinner with my family at home? Limit the things that are priorities for you and do them really well.

You’ve worked in different divisions and locations, including New York and across Asia. How do you think about mobility?
Mobility has been one of the best things about working at Goldman Sachs because it has helped me to learn new things and face new challenges. Switching divisions might not have been the only way to achieve these things, but it certainly worked out for me. For anyone considering mobility my main advice is to discuss possibilities for mobility with your manager early on. They will usually work with you to make a transition. Don’t wait until the last minute to open up the discussion with your manager.

What advice do you have on how to build one’s network?
Develop a plan and point of view about who you would like to build relationships with and go about cultivating a network. Be open-minded about where the best ideas might come from. Too often the default is to be disposed toward people with whom you share similar qualities.
 

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