My Journey to Becoming a Wealth Manager and Starting My Own Firm

My Journey to Becoming a Wealth Manager and Starting My Own Firm

By Amar Shah, CFA, CFP®

Some people know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives. They get the right qualifications and then enjoy a career in the field of their choice. That’s not my story. In fact, I stumbled into my career as a wealth manager and business owner. An opportunity arose, my interest was piqued, and dipping my toes into something new turned into a long and fulfilling career. 

My Journey – Being Helped to Helping Others

Growing up, my family had to frequently call emergency services given my father’s ongoing health challenges. I remember feeling safe and secure when the first responders arrived at my parent’s house.  Having been helped, I knew that I wanted to help others. After high school, I worked as a firefighter for the City of Poway in San Diego. I was all set to become a firefighter for life but my Fire Chief urged me to go to college before I made that commitment.  While attending the University of California, Riverside, I started working as a part-time engineer at Qualcomm. Then, the irony of all ironies (because I’m Indian), my job was outsourced to India. 

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering (honors), I knew that I wanted a career that helped people and their families feel secure.  I got a job at American Express Financial Advisors, and a couple of years in, I realized that this career was an ideal fit for me as I helped my clients establish and build a secure financial future.  After a handful of years, I moved on to work as a vice president within J.P. Morgan’s wealth management division in New York City and then spent 8 years as a senior wealth manager at USAA. I also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), practitioner. 

Throughout these years of gaining valuable knowledge and experience, I started developing my own core values of what it means to truly serve my clients best.  I wanted to create a firm that I would be comfortable with my Mom paying a fee for the services knowing what I know about my industry. Thus, Client First Capital was born with the core principles of transparency, trustworthiness and thoughtful leadership.

Branching Out

I founded Client First Capital with the goal of creating a company that reflected my values and provided impartial, evidence-based advice to my clients, all to maximize their financial well-being.  That said, this is my first time as a business owner and I knew that I needed a mentor to help me build a strong firm. I reconnected with industry veteran Doug Lennick who was the former Executive Vice President of Advice and Retail Distribution of American Express Financial Advisors and managed a business of over 17,000 individuals.  Doug agreed to become my coach and has been an invaluable resource over the last year.  

I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to serve my clients and their families and help them make decisions that align with their values and family dynamics.  I love being a problem-solver for my clients, giving them the knowledge and resources to take action on what’s important to them. I go to work every day not just to provide for my family, but to carry out my mission of helping my clients build a secure financial future. 


Client First Capital

1 (800) 310-2828
To learn more about Amar, connect with him on LinkedIn.

  1. Great story, Amar! Did not know you once served the Poway community.
    I am going to share this with my sister-in-law. Perhaps we can get you two linked up?!

  2. Amar….What a thoughtful message! I’m looking forward to my financial future with you.

    Bisous…….Kay (Davies)

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