Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley MAKER Aimee Cogan is a captain of finance—and at sea—always “finding solutions to obstacles” for clients and colleagues in her Sarasota community.

Aimee Cogan was a college student when her grandfather passed away. The future Morgan Stanley Managing Director and Financial Advisor stepped in to help her grandmother with her finances. Aimee recalls her grandmother “trying to wrap her head around their banking and investments, never having balanced a checkbook; I felt compelled to help.”

That hands-on experience nearly 30 years ago is what “drove me to work at the personal level in wealth management,” says Aimee. “I looked for that in a career path, knowing it was the direction I wanted to go in.”

In fact, she always loved math and anticipated doing something related to money. “As a kid, I would complete writing assignments for English but somehow weave math into my stories,” she says. She studied finance in college, where the dean of the business school encouraged Aimee to gain work experience before going on to earn an MBA. He suggested Aimee look for something in banking and commercial underwriting, which she did, for several years after graduation, at the Sarasota office of a major bank. Still, she was drawn to personal finance and investing. “I really loved working with individuals,” she says.

Aimee had also grown to love the Sarasota community on the west coast of Florida. A job in wealth management meant she could stay there doing what she loved while enjoying the beach, sunsets, and people. “It’s a great quality of life here,” she points out.

A New Direction

While working at the bank, Aimee earned her professional designations and achieved top national ranking but felt the bank lacked some of the capabilities her clients needed. “It was clear Morgan Stanley was the answer,” says Aimee, adding that the Firm immediately impressed her. “I was directly connected to the heads of every department to help deliver resources and support to clients.”

Over the 15 years since she joined the Firm, Aimee has built a diversified 10-person team at The Bellwether Group at Morgan Stanley. “We focused on developing a comprehensive set of skills with associated credentials and professional designations so we could provide the highest level of experience to our client base.” Morgan Stanley has “been supportive every step of the way, helping me develop the team and grow; that’s made a huge difference in my career,” she says.

Aimee—who is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), a Family Wealth Director, and an Alternative Investment Director—has been consistently recognized on Barron’s and Forbes Top Women Wealth Advisors lists, as a Top Wealth Advisor Mom by Working Mother and SHOOK Research, and as a Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisor*. She is honored to have been named a Morgan Stanley MAKER, joining a group of accomplished women nominated by their peers. “MAKERs are trailblazers—those who are paving the way,” she says. “They’re ready to forge change for the years and decades ahead.”

A Champion for Others

For Aimee, that means being “a great champion for women—including those on my team, in my community, and my own daughter,” who is now 13, plays travel volleyball, and is an avid performing artist. In fact, Girls Inc. honored Aimee with the “She Knows Where She’s Going Award,” for being a “Strong, Smart and Bold” role model. She mentors young women enrolled in their after-school and summer programs and helps them gain real-world financial and economic decision-making skills.

Another organization near and dear to Aimee is the Child Protection Center in Sarasota. In the late 2000s, a board member asked Aimee for financial advice for the nonprofit, which helps families and children recover from the effects of child abuse. She didn’t hesitate, and ended up joining the board, whose efforts “went right to the heartstrings.” She continues to help the organization with their endowment and fundraising efforts.

A Captain of Finance—and at Sea

When Aimee is not hard at work or volunteering, she enjoys time with her family, especially on the water, captaining her own boat. “It really gives me time to clear my head and focus on the task at hand,” she says. In the office, that means “finding solutions to obstacles” for her clients and colleagues. On the water, it means keeping a watch on weather, tides and charts and, making sure everyone enjoys themselves but first and foremost returns to port safely.

For those unsure about the future, Aimee reminds them to work hard and be solution-oriented. She points to a time early in her career when she was asked to do an important-sounding “fixed asset inventory,” later realizing it was simply scanning the building’s desks, chairs and computers. Still, she embraced it, and in doing so got to meet every person in those chairs. “Meeting them helped me make connections, then create relationships by staying in contact with them,” she reflects. “You really can find opportunities in everything you do. When you take that approach, success will follow.”