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Local adviser celebrates 60 years in finance

Seymour Krinsky

Seymour Krinsky likes to joke that he made a career transition from “spiritual wealth to material wealth.” 

{mprestriction ids="1"}That happened 60 years ago, on Sept. 7, 1954, when Krinsky left his role as associate rabbi of Kehilath Israel Synagogue and accepted a position as a stock broker at Bache & Co. That was his home for 59 years, through numerous reorganizations and rebranding initiatives. In April 2014, Krinsky moved to RBC Wealth Management-U.S. as part of a team known as Krinsky, Eidson and Doege located in Leawood.

Through a career of six decades, Krinsky maintains an unyielding approach to business: “To act with dignity and never to compromise on your integrity.” Although his motto hasn’t changed, the same can’t be said for the workplace.

When Krinsky started his career in 1954, the office dress code required a shirt, tie and jacket in a building with no air conditioning. And working hours were dissimilar from what we know today. “Kansas City didn’t have daylight savings time back then,” he recalls. “So the market opened really early.”

Dramatic changes in the financial industry required him to adapt to new environments and technology. In 1954, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovered around 280; today it is over 17,000. A chalkboard was used to track the prices of securities; now investors get real-time data from the Internet. Krinsky recalls that trading 2 million shares used to be cause for celebration when the boss would take them out for a glass of iced tea. Today, 2 million shares can be exchanged every minute thanks to institutional investors and high-frequency trading. 

But, perhaps the biggest change is the information overload in the modern age. Krinsky says he was the main source of information for his clients in the ‘50s. But, now investors have access to numerous stock analysts, commentators and “experts” who all have an opinion on how to invest.

“Today the world moves very fast. Too much information gets disseminated and no one knows whether it is true or not. I have a TV on in my office all day long because I need to know what my clients are watching at home so I can separate fiction from reality. It is very important to know what you read, who you respect and who speaks with authority on a topic.”

Despite the changes in the industry, Krinsky finds that the basics of what people want haven’t changed. Older clients want to know that they won’t outlive their money. Middle-age clients want estate planning and to ensure their wills and trusts are up to date for their heirs.

“I tell my clients, my job is not to make them rich but to see that they don’t become poor,” he says. In words appropriate for a rabbi, he cites an expression from the Talmud: “He who prepares on Friday, eats on Saturday.”

To accomplish this, Krinsky offers time-tested words of advice: “Invest within your means. Don’t over speculate if you can’t afford to lose money. And, invest in long-term, high-grade dividend bearing securities in industries that are here to stay.”

“Seymour’s financial experience and commitment to his clients is unmatched,” said Mark Borcherding, Leawood branch director, RBC Wealth Management-U.S. 

Today, Krinsky works with more than 200 clients, many of whom are third- or fourth-generation family members from his original client list. He has shared his knowledge about the financial markets with future generations as an instructor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and through seminars at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. He remains very active in the Jewish community as a lifetime member of both the Jewish Community Center and Kehilath Israel Synagogue. In addition, he is a counselor at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and is an ambassador of the Jewish Community Foundation. Still ordained as a rabbi — “I haven’t been ‘unfrocked,’” he jokes — Krinsky performs rabbinical duties when needed.

Krinsky and his wife Marsha live in Overland Park, where they enjoy time with their blended family of five children and 20 grandchildren.