David Hou

Profession: Senior Corporate Executive
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Position: Senior Vice President, Private Banking and Investment Group, Merrill Lynch

David Hou heads a Merrill Lynch group that manages over $5 billion in assets for about 300 high-net-worth clients. To those lucky individuals who have at least $5 million to invest, Hou offers one of the firm’s highest client satisfaction records, without a single complaint on his personal record. But what makes him proudest is being asked by so many clients to be the successor trustee of their children’s trusts. It’s a role he refuses to avoid conflicts of interest.

What makes people want to invest with Hou’s group?

“One, they trust you. Two, they like you. Three, you provide great value — you don’t have to be the cheapest, just the best value per dollar spent. And four, you give them great service.”

Working on the West Coast in a New York-based field requires Hou to keep early hours. Someone in his group is always in the office by 5 a.m. and stays until 6 p.m. Hou himself wakes up at 5 AM each morning and readies himself for work to the sounds of CNBC and Bloomberg News.

David Hou majored in economics/business at UCLA. He toyed with the idea of entering law school. After working as a financial analyst for Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin (HLHZ), Hou decided that investing and finance were much more interesting. The career required an MBA. In 1992 he graduated from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and went on to work for Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Hou is happily married to Evelyn. In his spare time he enjoys playing with daughter Catherine, playing basketball, weightlifting and card games. He is not yet 40.