Wistar Morris, J.D.
Wistar Morris is a Client Strategist. Wistar advises families on asset allocation, portfolio construction, family and business succession, estate planning, and philanthropic strategies. He serves clients across the country, including Virginia, Illinois, South Carolina, California, Wyoming, and New Mexico.
Wistar came to Signature from the Miller Center, a nonpartisan institute at the University of Virginia dedicated to the study of the American presidency. He began his tenure as Executive Director and General Counsel of the Miller Center Foundation and later served as program director of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Subsequently, he became the Miller Center’s associate director, which included overseeing $45 million of endowment assets.
After graduating from law school, Wistar began his career at the Washington, D.C. office of Fulbright & Jaworski, and left to co-found Vega Group Limited, an international consulting firm that helped companies develop and implement successful export strategies.
Wistar is a community leader and frequently volunteers as an informal advisor to non-profit organizations. He currently serves as a Director of the H. Gordon and Mary Smyth Foundation in Charlottesville, as a Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia and a Director of Charlottesville Tomorrow. Previously, he volunteered as a Trustee and member of the investment committee of North Cross School in Roanoke, Virginia.
Wistar is a graduate, magna cum laude, of Middlebury College and the University of Virginia School of Law.
Wistar and his wife, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, have two children. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, hiking, tennis, and travel with his family.
What do you do at Signature?
I work directly with client families across the U.S., helping them define and implement their investment objectives. I’m also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, so I help the firm set strategy, make key hires, and keep abreast of the wealth management field.
What qualities make you best suited to do what you do?
I like people, and I’m interested in them. I try hard to ask good questions and listen intently to the answers. I’ll share my opinions when appropriate, but to me, success is helping a client find their voice and the goals that matter most to them.
What’s your favorite thing about wealth management?
Being my client’s first phone call! I love being a thinking partner who can field whatever is on their mind. I also love being there for them during life’s most critical moments—a new marriage, the successful sale of a business, the passing of a loved one, or the joy of the birth of a grandchild.
It’s incredibly satisfying to help a client navigate “the stuff of life”. It might sound a little corny, but it’s hard for me to imagine a greater professional privilege.
What is your favorite client success story?
For the past decade, I’ve worked with a retired executive to help him create and implement a strategy that meets two objectives: providing substantial and perpetual donations to nonprofits working with the neediest youth in his community, and transferring his values and wealth to his children and grandchildren. Our work has been a true partnership, and the client could not be more pleased with the outcomes.
What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Ten years ago, I co-founded Signature’s Charlottesville office. Since then, we’ve become well known and respected in our community, growing from two to twelve employees.
I’m also very proud of the volunteer work I do in the community, especially with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia. I’m grateful for the recognition and the awards, but the smiles on the face of Boys & Girls Club kids as they achieve their milestones always stays with me.
What about your personal accomplishments?
I’m blessed with a wonderful family—an amazingly talented and patient wife and two amazing children. They are all very much their own people, and I’m incredibly proud of each of them.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Travel, ski (downhill and cross-country), play tennis, and talk politics. I also love to spend time with good friends in our mountain cabin in West Virginia.
- Co-founding of Signature’s Charlottesville office
- Serving as program director of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, for the Miller Center, a nonpartisan institute at the University of Virginia dedicated to the study of the American presidency
- Twice named Board Member of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia
- Named one of three finalists in the U.S. for the Invest in Others Foundation Community Service Award
Education & accreditations
- J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, VA
- B.A. Magna Cum Laude, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VA
- Director, Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia
- Trustee and Investment Committee Member, North Cross School, Roanoke, VA
- Director, H. Gordon and Mary Smyth Foundation, Charlottesville, VA