Vice President, Bernstein Private Wealth Management
Alma mater: Wake Forest University
Hank Pariseau likes to live by the philosophy that there’s no such thing as bad weather — only unsuitable clothing. “It applies to all sorts of challenges that we face in our day-to-day lives, and certainly in wealth management,” he says. “There’s going to be rainy days, there’s going to be hurricanes, there’s going to be recessions. There’s nothing we can do about those things. As long as we’re mentally and otherwise prepared for them, we’re all going to be OK.” Pariseau guides the families and individuals he works with prepare for those literal and metaphorical rainy days by helping them create investment strategies that they’re comfortable with and that will help them achieve their goals. But perhaps the best path to securing long-term financial success is a solid education. To that end, Pariseau is a member of the board of directors of the Akilah Institute, a higher education institution for women in Rwanda to earn diplomas in business management and entrepreneurship, information systems, and hospitality management. On average, graduates of the institute, which was founded by a Tampa native, earn 12 times the Rwandan national average. “There are so many causes out there that make a big impact. This one, to me, it’s just a huge bang for your buck, in terms of dollars donated and time contributed,” Pariseau says. “You’re really transforming these lives from what might have been a life of subsistence farming to really successful careers and entrepreneurship and all kinds of things.”
What is your current occupation? Tell me a little bit about what you do in your position.
I am a financial advisor. I work closely with clients to understand their needs, their goals, what keeps them up at night, everything like that. We work to build a custom financial plan and portfolio allocation strategy that will meet their needs and ensure they’re comfortable along the way. Investing can come with a lot of anxiety at times, so my clients’ peace of mind is a really important factor in all of that. The job stays interesting via market movements, geopolitical crises, changes and crises in the lives of my clients. There’s never a dull moment. It’s always interesting.
Do you have a typical client?
Not exactly. It’s a pretty wide range. Mostly families and individuals, but I do also work with quite a few nonprofits here in Tampa. It depends, but it’s a pretty diverse range of clientele.
How did you get into this profession?
I have an economics background by training. I’ve always had an interest in capital markets and whatnot. I was introduced to Bernstein by a longtime friend and mentor and learned about the company and thought it would be a good fit for my analytical background, and I liked the idea of working with people and individuals rather than just businesses.
What nonprofits/charitable organizations are you involved with?
The one I’m probably most involved with is the Akilah Institute. I’ve been on the board of Akilah for the past three or four years, and I volunteered on their finance committee before that. It was founded by a Tampa native, but it’s a school in Rwanda for women. It’s a higher education institute in Rwanda where these women, typically from pretty difficult backgrounds, have an opportunity to get a really great education and then launch these really fantastic careers in hospitality, technology, all kinds of these things. It allows them to, at the end of the day, earn about 12 times the national average for Rwanda. It’s been proven really successful over the last 10 years. We just celebrated our 10-year anniversary. We’re now looking to expand into other countries as well, since it’s been successful in Rwanda.
Why are you so passionate about the Akilah Institute?
There are so many causes out there that make a big impact. This one, to me, it’s just a huge bang for your buck, in terms of dollars donated, time contributed. You’re really transforming these lives from what might have been a life of subsistence farming to really successful careers and entrepreneurship and all kinds of things. The difference that the institute can make in these lives is kind of unmatched in a lot of other nonprofit endeavors.
Have you had a chance to go to the institute yet?
No, not yet. It’s on my list. It’s supposed to be a really cool trip. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but one of these days, for sure.
Some other [organizations], though, I volunteer for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, which is a fantastic resource for the whole Tampa Bay area. Then I’ve mentored for Metropolitan Ministries, their students over there, the past few years. So a little bit of international and local work.
Fill in the blank. When I’m not in the office, you can find me…
I’d say on the water. Be that on a boat, at the beach, what have you. I love doing that with my wife and daughter, whatever way we can pull it off.
Who is your mentor, and why?
I’ve had a lot of great colleagues and mentors here at Bernstein. I’ve been with Bernstein about 10 years now, and I’m fortunate to still work with a lot of these people that helped teach me the business, teach me how to both have an effective life at work and at home. At Bernstein I’ve been blessed to work with quite a few really impactful, meaningful mentors.
Do you have a motto or philosophy you live by?
My motto, I would say, is, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” It sounds like kind of a corny, dad joke line, and it usually gets a laugh, but I mean it. It applies to weather, of course, but it also applies to all sorts of challenges that we face in our day-to-day lives, and certainly in wealth management. There’s going to be rainy days, there’s going to be hurricanes, there’s going to be recessions. There’s nothing we can do about those things. As long as we’re mentally and otherwise prepared for them, we’re all going to be OK. And sometimes it’s good to remind yourself of that.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and from whom did you receive it?
I’d say a good one is from a former colleague in our Washington, D.C. office. He said, when working with family, colleagues, whatever, just don’t ever ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. It sort of keeps you humble. Make sure you treat everyone respectfully and fairly. It’s not just a work thing. I think it’s something that applies to all aspects of life.
What do you love most about Tampa?
I love that there’s all kinds of cultural and culinary things to choose from, but you can also spend a day at a gorgeous beach and come home and sleep in your own bed at night.
What is the last book you read or your favorite book?
My favorite is probably Guns, Germs and Steel [by Jared Diamond]. It’s kind of a nerdy, ancient history type of book, but I love that type of thing. It really made me think differently about the world.
Which app on your phone could you not live without, and why?
One that I love these days is called Wunderlist. It sounds basic, but it’s a way my wife and I can share grocery lists, packing lists, to-do lists. It’s been huge because it allows her and I to coordinate in a way that we weren’t doing well before we found that app. It’s a great one I recommend.
What is your dream vacation?
My favorite type of vacation is a sailboat charter. I’ve done that with my family a bunch of times over the years. We’re into sailing, and you basically live on a boat for a week. It’s not quite as glamorous as it might sound. It’s only a couple of notches above camping, but to be able to wake up on the water and go wherever you want is a really cool experience.