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The Best of Active Advisor 2023

The Active Advisor Podcast (Episode 20)

Welcome to this special Best of 2023 episode of the Active Advisor podcast brought to you by Harbor Capital, with your host, Bryan Moore, ETF Capital Markets Expert at Harbor Capital. As the year winds down and the new one is around the corner, let’s spend some time casting the mind back to some of the amazing guests who’ve graced this show and the wonderful insights they shared. From earliest money memories to setting up an advisory practice, the best advice for advisors, and viewing active investing from different lenses, this episode has you covered!

A special shout-out to our loyal audience. This journey would not have been possible without your participation and engagement. As the show prepares for an all-new season, we will continue our journey into the dynamic and fascinating financial advisory world. The podcast will help you learn from industry pros who have built thriving practices and helped thousands of investors realize their financial dreams.

Let’s start by meeting the guests on the show today:

Key Highlights

Frank Toth

  • First Money Memory - Listening to his father and grandfather talk about stocks
  • Learning the business from the bottom up
  • Starting his independent advisory

Sarin Barsoumian

  • First Money Memory - An 18-year-old blowing $2K on family Christmas gifts
  • Walking away from it all to set up her own advisory

Nicole Middendorf

  • First Money Memory - Getting ripped off by the tooth fairy!
  • Resilience in the face of adversity and building her “Live it List”

Brian Portnoy

  • Advice for Advisors - Focus on building your emotional intelligence

Bruce Lee

  • Advice for Advisors - The one question every advisor needs to ask themselves

Patrick Huang

  • Advice for Advisors - Sharpen your humility and programming skills

Michael Collins

  • Advice for Advisors - Hook up with AI and ChatGPT to save time

Taylor Nissi

  • Best Stance on Active Management - The core satellite approach

Tunde Ogunlana

  • Best Stance on Active Management - Maintain a neutral stand on active management

Ross Marino

  • Best Stance on Active Management - Who says that passive investing isn’t active?

Nate Lenz

  • Best Stance on Active Management - A greater appetite for active management


  1. “If your primary service is X, there’s all this other stuff that’s on the table, and there’s all this other stuff that you can use to bring value to a client because, in my opinion, there’s loyalty in that value”. Frank Toth
  2. “Then the 07, 08 market crash occurred, and clients were freaking out. I was freaking out. You know, I was two years in as an advisor. Here I am telling people what to do with their money. I distinctly remember getting off the phone with some clients and just crying because I was questioning, is this actually going to work out?” Sarin Barsoumian
  3. “I woke up one morning, and I had this little tiny pillow that I'd put my tooth in the night before. And in the morning, I woke up and there was a $2 bill in there. And I went running down the hallway yelling, I got ripped off.” Nicole Middendorf
  4. “I would encourage any advisor listening to think about emotional intelligence as a skill, just like your vertical leap or chess. You might not be Michael Jordan, you might not be Garret Kasparov, but you get slightly better at these sorts of things every day.” Brian Portnoy
  5. “Once you start your advisory, you need to settle back in your seat and ask yourself, what am I really good at? What do I really wanna be? And so, I think you and your team need to sit down and answer that question first.” Bruce Lee
  6. “Coding and programming are huge and have changed the way I look at things. It’s equally important to stay humble when you get lucky.” Patrick Huang
  7. “We've been using OpenAI's GPT stuff for close to two years. We've done a lot of experiments with it to see what we think it can and can't do today. So today, we're using it to save 80% of the time it takes to write investment content.” Michael Collins
  8. “So when it comes to portfolio construction, we are firm believers in the core satellite approach, where you're using passive for a big piece of your portfolio, and you're using active as satellites around it to achieve specific purposes.” Taylor Nissi
  9. “I do believe in active management. I'm one of these people that's neutral long-term. I'm not the type of guy to take sides on stuff like this.” Tunde Ogunlana
  10. “I think even the people who say they are passive investors are actually active. They just don't think about it as much. Not only does the index have some level of activity, but they're tweaking their portfolios. So when I hear active, it's not just individual management; it's also portfolio management as well.” Ross Marino
  11. “I would say, from a trends and objective standpoint, I think there's definitely a shift going on towards more active management.” Nate Lenz


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