• MULTICULTURAL FINANCIAL ADVISOR FORUM

Coaching the Stars

Ted Reid explains how he went from playing board games to advising athletes and performers.

Morgan Stanley’s Ted Reid again hosted a client event prior to the GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles this year. The reception, started 18 years ago, has been the source for several of Ted’s larger clients and is a venue popular with many involved in the worlds of sports and entertainment .

Los Angeles is the place to convene during the week of the GRAMMYS, not only for the performers, but for all those who work with people in the music business.  This includes Ted, whose formal name and title is Octavius “Ted” Reid, Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor and Sports and Entertainment Director.

Nearly two decades ago, Ted conceived of an idea to host a gathering of those individuals; agents, business managers, label executives, attorneys and to network and help each other develop and grow their relationships in the business in what has become one of the go-to events during the week of one the most important events in the music industry globally.

Yet if it were not for a board game he played in his youth, Ted might never have entered the world of sports and entertainment advice.

As of today, Ted has worked with more than 100 celebrity entertainers and top athletes in football, baseball, and basketball.  As a Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Global Sports and Entertainment Director, he serves the often unique and complex needs of athletes, entertainers and professionals in the sports and entertainment industry.

It all started with a board game in junior high school.

“Our teacher introduced us to a game called Stock and Bonds, and I became so enthralled with it, that I told my parents I wanted to be a stock broker when I grew up,” Ted said.

His parents encouraged his interest and Ted spent hours at the library learning everything he could, eventually taking all the money he had earned from delivering newspapers and in a lawn-cutting business, and put it all on one stock.

“The stock delivered and I was hooked. I began to believe that I knew more than anyone else. Then, with my next investment, I got wiped out. That taught me three things; the importance of diversification, what risk was about and that I should get advice from a financial professional.”

After college, Ted chased his passion and took a job as a Financial Advisor at Dean Witter, a Morgan Stanley predecessor company, but it wasn’t what he expected.

“I thought I was applying for an institutional sales position but I wound up in retail brokerage,” he said. “Things didn’t go well from the beginning. I really didn't understand retail and the cold calling I had to do was frustrating and not at all what I thought I'd be doing.”

When the market crashed the next year, Ted was forced to take other jobs evenings and weekends to makes ends meet. Things began to turn around when he befriended someone who lived in his town; a recent draftee of the Philadelphia Eagles who had suffered an injury and could no longer play. He told Ted he had to move back home because his money had been mismanaged and he, too, was practically broke.

"I took him in. He slept on my couch and we spent our evenings together teaching each other what we had learned about our passionate interests. We became close friends and he introduced me to other players and my network began to grow as they told players on other teams. I made connections throughout the NFL and my reputation grew, and so did my business.”

When athletes from other sports began calling him, his reach across pro sports increased.

Then, on his way to a conference of Black entertainment sports attorneys, he read about a Financial Advisor who had several athlete clients and called himself a “broker tor the stars.”

“That is when I realized I had a niche, a focus, and I should be marketing to it,” Ted said.  

The reaction was immediate and enthusiastic, with several lawyers asking him if he also represented entertainers as well.  That opened up another avenue of clients.

According to Ted, both athletes and entertainers are challenged by similar career arcs with short-lived, unpredictable income streams. They often receive large sums of money very suddenly at an early age, but can just as often find themselves without an income just a few years later.

While a typical employee in the workforce will earn a relatively stable income over 30 or 40 years in a career, the individuals Ted represents need to prepare for the possibility that their prime earning is over after just a handful of seasons.

In addition to working closely with his clients, Ted is a frequent speaker and panelist at various sports and entertainment and financial conferences around the country. Despite his niche, he rarely watches his clients perform. “My relationship with them is not as a fan of the performer,” he said. “Instead, I’m a big fan of the person.”

Ted’s interest in helping extends to his involvement as a board member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which provides financial support and medical assistance through various grants and programs in support of former R&B and Motown artists. He is also an active member of The Recording Academy and has sat on the board of the Philadelphia chapter several times. Within Morgan Stanley, he helped mentor African American Financial Advisors in the Greater Philadelphia region, which led to the creation of the Multicultural Business Exchange, now known as the Multicultural Leadership Summit.