Robert J. Sullivan, CFP®


Los Altos

Client Advisory


Robert is a Partner in our Los Altos office and has more than thirty years of wealth management experience. He focuses on providing affluent individuals and families with the diverse investment and financial planning solutions needed to facilitate the accumulation, growth, preservation, and transition of assets among generations. His goal is to educate clients so they can make informed decisions and act in their own best interests.

Robert joined the firm in January 2020 when Cerity Partners acquired Sullivan & Serwitz, an investment advisory firm he co-founded with Marshall Serwitz in 1989.


  • B.S. in Business Management, San Jose State University


  • Member of the Financial Planning Association
  • Former featured speaker on television and radio programs
  • Retained by Silicon Valley law firms as an expert witness on investment and financial planning matters

Q & A


Was there a specific incident in your life that made it clear you were made for this career?

It has always been easy and an attractive subject for me. My Dad bought me a few shares of a single stock when I was ~10 years old. I was a very boring kid; I actually read the quarterly reports and reinvested all my dividends. It was always in my DNA. When I graduated from business school in 1978, I looked at financial services as a career. There were many firms hiring college graduates to train as “financial planners”, but they all looked like glorified sales positions to me. I wanted to serve as “trusted counselor” who would serve clients as an advocate. I chose to start my career with a small independent broker/dealer and avoid the “Wall Street” sales culture that appeared to me to be heavily influenced by conflicts of interest. I have been independent all 44 years of my career and dropped my securities license to serve my clients as a “fee only” advisor in 1992.

Why is your work important, especially today?

The role of CFP is as important as ever because clients need a trusted source of information and advice on “what does this mean for me/my family/my business?” Filtering out the noise and applying consistent financial discipline toward well defined goals is essential.

What kind of clients work best for you?

Those who are coachable, yet ready to challenge our thinking. Open and honest discourse is essential to a healthy advisor/client relationship.

What do you do in your personal life that helps you help your clients?

I try to read a wide range of information sources on a wide range of topics to keep the bigger picture in mind and avoid becoming myopic. I think this helps an advisor keep an open mind, which is essential in maintaining the ability to listen deeply to our clients.

What does the world need now more than anything?

Financial literacy.

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