Wealth Novelist and WSJ Contributor, Norb Vonnegut

Podcast #22 features Norb Vonnegut, wealth management practitioner turned novelist and journalist at the Wall Street Journal.  Besides talking finance and the future of wealth management, we talked a lot about his fiction writing.  He is the author of three Wall Street thrillers:

He also works on non-fiction. As a contributing columnist for WSJ.com, Norb probes wealth management issues ranging from

  • Cybersecurity to
  • The gender pay gap among industry professionals to
  • The clash between Wall Street and Silicon Valley for market share of investment management.

Norb knows what he is talking about.  He spent ten years in Private Wealth Management in New York City, where he developed an international practice with over $1 billion in assets under management.



  • Norb, we both come from a wealth management background, but you have morphed into a formidable writer covering wealth management and other topics.
  • Take us through your background and how you got into the industry
  • How did you scratch the writing bug?  What were your first experiences in getting published?

Fiction writing

– Your work centers around adventures of wealth managers that get in trouble around their rich clients

  • Take us through your process in structuring plot and developing your characters?
  • What is it like to come from an industry and dealing with an editor and customs of the publishing industry?
  • What was it like to get your first edits and comments from your editor?
  • Your attention to the details of the industry reminds me of John Grisham or Tom Clancy. How do you research the ins and outs of the wealth details that make your novels vivid and ring true?
  • What are your plans for the series? Could this be the cornerstone of a movie or TV series?


  • You write a robust wealth management column for the WSJ- what is the process and timing for articles?
  • How do you and the paper decide what is newsworthy and how does that square with what is intellectually interesting to you? Or what might be a niche issue but could have significant impact?
  • Any plans for collecting your experiences/research for the broader reader?

Trends in Wealth Management

  • You must talk to a lot of professionals, clients and commentators- what are the broad trends that the industry is struggling to solve
  • Evolving business models
    • Justification for fees / compression issues
    • Next-Gen
    • Robo-Advice
  • Fiduciary roles
  • Technology
  • Information asymmetry/synthesis
  • Active v. Passive (Commoditization of investment management advice)
  • Impact Investing
  • Regulation
  • Demographic shifts (aging advisor population)
  • Destruction of free agency (Dismantling of Protocol, who owns the client, does this affect advice?)
  • Others

How do we stay in touch with you and how do we find/buy your work?


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