When Anthony DeAngelo arrived at Harborview Hall, in August 2003, to check in to his freshman room at Wagner College, the people at the registration desk told him, “You’ve already checked in!”
“No, I didn’t,” he replied in confusion. “I just got here!”
“Look, you signed your name,” they replied.
But the scrawl on that paper was not his. Turns out, there was another freshman that year at Wagner College named Anthony D’Angelo.
Throughout four years as fellow business administration / finance majors at Wagner, and nearly seven years as business associates, Anthony J. D’Angelo ’07 and Anthony V. DeAngelo ’07 have learned to turn their shared names from a point of confusion into a significant asset.
They love to meet with new clients together. “Here’s the hardest thing you’re going to have to do,” they say, and lay down their two business cards. Everyone laughs. “There has never been a better ice breaker than putting down the card with the same names,” says Anthony V. “It makes the connection we need to get our clients to trust us.”
The two Anthonys met soon after the room confusion incident. The main thing they remember about their first conversation is that they made an agreement: “We have the same name, so let’s keep a strong reputation.”
Anthony J. joined the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon, TKE, becoming its chief recruiter and increasing its membership from six to 40 by his senior year. There was only one recruit he went after and failed to persuade: Anthony V. — although, since he lived with the TKEs on floor C4 of Towers residence hall, he did gain “honorary brother” status.
Anthony V., on the other hand, was developing his business and sales skills by doing event planning — he catered to all of the fraternities, so that’s why he didn’t want to join one — and brokering apartments for students who wanted to live off campus. (His family owns Century 21 Zaloom Realty on Staten Island.)
As Anthony J. notes, “There are a lot of parallels between school and now. He’s good at networking, and I’m good at recruiting.”
Anthony J. started working as a financial professional for AXA Advisors immediately after graduation, whereas Anthony V. went into the family realty business. In 2009, Anthony J. was promoted to be a vice president of AXA Advisors’ New York City branch, and he was able to recruit and train a new team of financial professionals. The first call he made was to a man he knew was brilliant at connecting with people.
“I’m in,” was Anthony V.’s simple reply.
Both were excited. Anthony J. remembers thinking, “Anthony and Anthony working together is going to be something big and special. We’re going to change this company.”
They had a few things going for them: their friendship and trust in each other, and the fact that sharing a name allowed them to double book appointments. (A trick somewhat similar to covering for each other in business classes back at Wagner.) Their team has grown exponentially and now competes with another AXA Advisors team in Austin, Texas, for the company's top spot in measures like client acquisition and the development and retention of new financial professionals.
They also share a devotion to their clients’ well-being, realizing that the advice they give has a long-term impact on people’s futures.
“Our goal is to do well by doing good for people,” says Anthony V. “We get business by doing a great job for our clients.” (Anthony J. and Anthony V. both have websites where you can learn more about their practices.)
“I told you I’d get you to join my fraternity one day,” Anthony J. jokes. “It’s so much fun to work with a friend.”
— Laura Barlament, Editor, Wagner Magazine, August 12, 2016