Success requires hard work, intellect, vision, and the ability to implement that vision
Gary di Silvestri was born in NYC and has lived half his life in North America and half in Europe. Gary started in business with a paper route at 9-10 years old and got his first taste of mergers and acquisitions by buying up and consolidating other children’s paper routes in the neighborhood, making both delivery and collection more efficient. He eventually sold off the entire route for a very nice sum for an 11-12-year-old and used the proceeds to start investing in the stock market. Gary initially followed his father’s investing strategy, but soon realized he needed to develop his own investing methods. Over Gary’s high school years, the initial sum appreciated considerably. He was able to purchase his first car and pay for the portion of college not covered by scholarships.
Gary di Silvestri graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School Salutatorian and was awarded Staten Island’s top scholar/athlete award. He decided to attend Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Gary was elected and served one year as School of Foreign Service Class President. His junior year, he was awarded a Rotary Scholarship that paid for an entire year of study abroad at the University of Rome. During his senior year, Gary was nominated by Georgetown for a Rhodes scholarship and made it to the final round of the process. He graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown and inducted in the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society.
After graduation, Gary di Silvestri accepted an offer at Morgan Stanley’s NYC Investment Banking Division as a Financial Analyst – a two-year program. He spent one year in Corporate Finance and his second year in the firm’s Venture Capital Group.
Gary then went on to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business for his MBA. He was awarded a merit-based scholarship that paid for an entire semester’s tuition during his second year. Gary graduated with Honors and was inducted in the Beta Gamma Sigma national honor society.
Post-graduation, Gary di Silvestri accepted an offer with Morgan Stanley London as an Associate, where he focused on managing assets.
He was then recruited by Credit Suisse and accepted a position as Vice President with the same focus on managing assets.
In 1997, Deutsche Suisse Asset Management was founded and is now entering its 22nd year in operation.
Gary di Silvestri is also a philanthropist. He specifically financed developmental and humanitarian projects in Dominica to assist the country in its rebuilding efforts post tropical storm Erika. Additionally, Gary has been a major donor in support of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team and several other national, university and club efforts to advance cross country skiing. He is also working with children’s hospitals to ensure funding in their efforts to treat childhood disease.
Where did the idea for Deutsche Suisse Asset Management come from?
I have worked in the financial world since I graduated from college. It was a natural progression for me to move into my own business. I have worked with both Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, as well as in the German and Swiss markets.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day starts with excellent espresso macchiato with a vanilla almond milk froth and a touch of manuka honey, granola coconut milk yogurt parfait with blueberries. I’m up at 6:30 AM reviewing what the Asian markets did overnight, how the European markets are trading and how the U.S. is expected to open, including a look at all relevant news on the aforementioned markets. I continue this analysis until 11 AM and then proceed with my daily workout. It varies based on where I am located, but generally involves an extensive aerobic workout with accompanying days of anaerobic work and strength. I then stretch, shower, and have lunch while reviewing what transpired while working out with a specific focus on how the European markets closed the day and how the U.S. markets are trending. I continue with this into the evening, wrapping things up prior to dinner and then heading to dinner. Post dinner, I’ll review what occurred during the day, set a tentative plan for the subsequent day, and review the opening of the Asian markets. I’ll also spend time with friends and family and read extensively on all topics of interest outside of work.
How do you bring ideas to life?
In the investment world, ideas are brought to life through implementation in the markets. It’s generally very straightforward, using financial instruments available to all. I have learned how to use my knowledge to make excellent investment choices.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited at the trend toward automation in all areas from driverless cars to automated production. This trend will drastically alter our lives, leaving more time for human creativity to flourish.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Discipline in adhering to a plan and the resulting persistence to implement it. Especially when your income is based on so many changing factors, you need to have the right amount of focus. It’s not just what the market has done for the day, you also need to prepare for what may happen tomorrow based on current trends.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to constantly focus on what opportunities may be presenting themselves and to learn how to capitalize on them. This takes hard work, vision, intellect, persistence, and drive. All qualities that should be nurtured throughout one’s life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One thing that no one believes is that the financial markets can be outperformed. I disagree with that. I think that only a few can do it, but that it can be done. You need to have the flexibility to adjust your investments as needed, but it absolutely can be accomplished.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I continually attempt to identify opportunities and how to capitalize on them. The ability to create and implement ideas – ideas that may be different, but that make sense – is what truly sets you apart.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Undoubtedly, it has been my vision and the ability to act on it. It’s not just developing or identifying new ideas, but also capitalizing on them through implementation.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I lost faith in my investment strategy during a financial crisis and vied from what had proven to be successful in the past. I realized the need to patiently adhere to what had created our investing success and returned to it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think a successful endeavor would be to create a business focused on assisting executives/individuals in seamlessly managing their personal and professional lives. This would involve having a central office with highly competent, organized people that are interchangeable, thereby providing uninterrupted support.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve spent recently was on a Hyperice vibrating foam roller. It is an exercise tool and an excellent way to warm up for a workout or use prior to stretching post workout. I think it’s a great tool for anyone to help with their regimen.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Microsoft OneNote. I have all my recurring and new to do lists and recurring lists/items to implement/follow.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
On the business side, I recommend everyone take the time to read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey. It lays the groundwork for key habits that we should all follow in some form.
Because I’ve always enjoyed staying healthy, I also recommend Ben Greenfield’s “Beyond Training.” It covers the entire gamut of personal fitness and how to optimize one’s physical self.
What is your favorite quote?
Thomas Carlyle: “Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”
• Success requires hard work, intellect, vision, and the ability to implement that vision
• Never stop searching for and identifying opportunities
• Perseverance in identifying, creating, and implementing opportunities is crucial
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.