Ruben Torres at the UBS offices in Century City. Photo by Westside People
The UBS financial advisor left Colombia on a tennis scholarship and now “pays it forward” with a scholarship foundation
UBS Financial Advisor Ruben Torres owes a lot to the game of tennis. It was a tennis scholarship to University of Southern California that allowed him to stay in the country after he and his family fled unrest in Colombia. Another tennis scholarship helped him earn a subsequent MBA, which led to his career as a financial advisor with one of the largest wealth management banks in the world.
“My entire life has been about tennis,” Torres said. “Tennis has been the vehicle for me to thrive and excel and accomplish anything.”
He went on to play tennis professionally for a short time and today coaches tennis at Riviera Country Club. In late June Torres travelled to Wimbledon where he had a few clients and tennis friends in the draw.
With his success in life came a desire to help others. For the past 10 years, a group of eight colleagues from Colombia with similar tennis-related backgrounds have been “paying it forward” through a small scholarship foundation called Tennis for Colombia. So far the group has helped 25 kids to learn English, receive an education and get outfitted with shoes and a racket. Working with local municipalities, the group draws candidates from students working as ball boys at Colombian tennis clubs. This year its original recipient is graduating college.
“Really you have a lot of human capital there that just needs to be given a chance,” Torres said.
As a trusted financial advisor, Torres said he tries to bring the same drive and passion to the office as he does the tennis court. Where real estate has the adage, location-location-location, in finance Torres said it should be planning-planning-planning. He said his main focus is to understand the basic goals for each client and design a strategy from there.
“The question to ask is ‘what do they want to accomplish?’” he said. “It’s up to me find the best way to accomplish their goals while taking the least amount of risk possible. That I think is the name of the game.”
In an industry built on personal relationships, Torres said he’s willing to spend the time it takes to earn someone’s trust. It helps that he has behind him one of the biggest financial institutions in the world.
“You really have to care about your clients and do what’s best for them if you want to build a business that is going to last a long time,” Torres said. “It really ties into my DNA as an athlete, to be truly hardworking and truly care and put a passion into what I do.”
At 12-years-old he and his family left Colombia where they feared for their life to live in Florida on political asylum. There Torres attended a tennis academy. When 9/11 occurred, his family’s visa was revoked and the majority of his immediate relatives gained asylum from Canada and currently live in Toronto. Torres and his brother, also a tennis player, live in Los Angeles.
“I feel very fortunate to be in this country and be a part of one of the most amazing and beautiful places in the world,” Torres said. “This is a place where you can make an honest living and it doesn’t matter what your last name is or where you come from. You can come here and through hard work get somewhere. It’s not like that everywhere.”