Principal and Business Manager
Abacus Financial Business Management
With the pandemic disrupting employers, Anakwenze finds that talent pay that used to arrive in weeks can now take months. “It’s creating cash-flow issues,” she says. “Clients have to be prepared and get in front of it.” Her clients include Jay Ellis (“Top Gun: Maverick”) and “ET” co-hosts Kevin Frazier and Nischelle Turner. Anakwenze also reps behind-the-camera film/TV talent, actors, digital influencers and executives in events and concerts.
Avoiding the squeeze: Even wealthy talent can get squeezed if their money is locked down in investments. Los Angeles-based Anakwenze counsels creating living-expenses reserves and, of course, pressing employers to pay up.
Howard Krant, David Levin, Alice S. Lee, Richard L. Goldstein, Lewis Stark, Michael Hoffman
Krant: Managing and Founding Partner
Levin, Lee: Managing Directors
Goldstein, Stark: Partners
Hoffman: Senior Partner
Clients include John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, Jessica Simpson, Imagine Dragons, Wyclef Jean, Derek Hough, Edie Falco and fashion designer John Varvatos. The practice led by Krant spans entertainment, sports, media and fine arts. He is joined by Levin, Lee, Goldstein, Stark and Hoffman. They handle individuals, productions, music touring, valuation work including for music catalogs and non-profits. The firm’s base is in Manhattan, with offices in Asbury Park, N.J.; Jericho, Long Island; Marina del Rey, Calif.; and suburban Washington, D.C.
No horror stories: Clients are more concerned about their personal financial affairs, Krant says, because they’re aware of personal-finance horror stories of showbiz figures. “Most of them are very financially savvy and they don’t want to be taken advantage of.”
Ken Coehlo, Corey Pelton, Rob Abramowitz, Craig Manzino, Marc Rosen, Sam Levin, Jason Zayon, Elisabeth Cai, Catherine Catherine
Coehlo: Partner-in-Charge, Business Management
Pelton: Director, Business Management
Abramowitz, Manzino, Rosen, Levin, Zayon, Cai: Partners, Business Management
Catherine: Director, Business Management
If someone has a question about a cutting-edge investment such as bitcoin, NFTs or cannabis, Armanino has the expertise. One of the clients it services is a leading cryptocurrency exchange and another’s a cannabis tax group that contributed to a 250-page treatise for Thompson Reuters exploring the 33 states that tax marijuana sales. It’s just one of the benefits of being part of one of the top 25 largest accounting and consultancy firms in the country. The Armanino team handles a large collection of execs, writers, producers, directors, actors, musicians, athletes, talent management and production companies and high-net-worth individuals. Within the group, there’s a variety of specialties. For instance, Abramowitz’s roster includes a world-famous celebrity dermatologist, Pelton works primarily with music business clients, Levin’s accounts include the owners of several major retail brands, Cai specializes in trusts and estates and Zayon has Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Gloves on: “Our business management practice acts like a boutique firm within a much larger organization because it requires a hands-on, white-glove concierge-type of service,” Coehlo says.
Evan R. Bell, Liza de LeonBell: Managing Partner
de Leon: Business Management Partner
Bell & Co.The firm’s clients include writer-director Robert Eggers, fine artist Gerald Jackson, actor-director Camrus Johnson, filmmakers Dee Rees and Steven Soderbergh, screenwriter Brian Tucker and non-binary actor/fashion and community influencer Lachlan Watson. With television, film, literary and podcasting clients, Bell and de Leon work in midtown Manhattan, where their office remained open throughout the pandemic. Staff is vaccinated and tested weekly. “We consider this the safest office on earth,” Bell says.
Real estate roulette: During the pandemic, de Leon says, older clients who were renters in New York City sought homes in the region but “kept getting outbid. It was hectic and stressful.” Bell adds that residence-buying clients were upsizing at prices “at least double what they sold their old homes for,” but were staying in the region.
Steve Bills, Peter Stoll, Julie KrimsteinPartners
Bills & StollBills and Stoll launched their firm in 2016 and promoted Krimstein to partner last year. A team of 27 looks after the needs of clients, who include actors, directors and other showbiz talent. Investment in technology helped the firm transition to remote work and weather the pandemic. As for the clients, “those that were working before the pandemic have resumed work and flourished,” Stoll says. “We’re pleased that they didn’t panic during the financial downturn at the beginning of 2020.” He attributes that to “the education and planning that was done at the beginning of the investment process.”
Back to normal: Although much of the firm’s work is still done remotely, Stoll looks forward to recapturing “the sense of community we had pre-pandemic. We miss seeing each other in person.”
Business Wealth & Tax Management
Shaheen handles business for a sizeable roster of clients, including rappers IDK and Burna Boy; Jamil Davis, CEO, the Revels Group and co-founder of Black Music Action Coalition; producer Kenny Beats; and director Gibson Hazard. He reports that the recovery from the pandemic is going better than expected because during last year’s lockdowns “the majority of our entertainment clients worked hard producing an arsenal of content, and now they’re starting to reap the benefits of unlocking these creative treasure chests.”
Futurecast: “In 2022, I think we’ll see more people giving and supporting one another, as well as more cryptocurrency, blockchain, real estate and metaverse disruptions!”
Rit Venerus, Butch Gage, Dan GoscombePartners
Cal Financial GroupContinuing its growth, Cal Financial Group recently added clients Jack White, Third Man Records and writer-producer Dan Wilson. As the pandemic wanes and live events return, the firm saw record tour numbers from Dead & Co. and the Dave Matthews Band, as well as artists including Phoebe Bridgers and All Time Low, who experienced their biggest years yet. In addition, NBA All-Star client Joel Embiid signed a $196 million super max deal.
Keeping the team: “At the core of our success is our staff,” Venerus says. “We made a commitment to not make any reductions during the pandemic and coming through it, it has helped us to really thrive. I can’t say enough good things about our team.”
Steve Callas, Layth Carlson
Callas & CarlsonClients of the duo include directors Antoine Fuqua and Marc Webb; screenwriter Derek Kolstad; music multi-hyphenate Colin Hay; and two-time Oscar-winning production designer Don Burt. Callas and Carlson handle directors, writers, production designers, composers and performers. After last summer’s doldrums, Carlson says clients returned to work in late 2020 and that welcome trend continued into this year.
Long view: “The stock market continues to defy the odds; residential real estate in the large epicenters has seen tremendous growth,” says Carlson commenting on the business landscape.
Matthew Segreto, Arnie Herrmann, Sharon Sullivan, Wayne Mejia, Douglas Cammarano
Segreto: Partner & Entertainment, Music, and Sports Practice Leader
Herrmann, Sullivan, Mejia, Cammarano: Partners
The quintet’s clients include Chevy Chase, Damien Chazelle, Ana de Armas, Guillermo del Toro, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Mendes, Liam Neeson and Martin Scorsese. In a generational passing of the baton, Segreto became practice leader in February, responsible for monitoring industry developments, growing the overall practice and still serving some clients. Herrmann segued to senior partner and is known for expertise in financial market investments. Sullivan has a hybrid practice in film/TV and also music. Mejia handles client work internationally. Promoted to partner a year ago, Cammarano is also leader of the sports practice. Segreto finds client work is increasingly mobile, leaving home states and sometimes moving overseas. “Today’s business manager has to represent clients’ affairs in a global arena that requires additional expertise for compliance and taxation.” Segreto, Herrmann, Sullivan and Cammarano are based in New York; Mejia in Beverly Hills.
Expansion: In January, West Los Angeles-based Goren, Marcus, Masino & Marsh joined the Citrin Cooperman team.
CohnReznickNew York-based Granat has a client roster packed with top musical talent, but the pandemic shut down the touring business, and it’s still not back to full strength. To help them cope financially, Granat has facilitated PPP loans and music catalog sales for some, while searching out new sources of passive income, like second homes turned into rental properties.
Second look: “Not only has [the pandemic] made our client more cost-conscious, it’s given us an opportunity to re-evaluate investment strategies.”
W. Shane Glass
The Colony GroupHis clients include names in music, film/TV, social media stars and Hollywood executives. Glass has an extensive tax background. He is proud that no staff layoffs or salary reductions occurred during the pandemic. A current client conversation is whether music talent should sell off personal music publishing and royalties stream, given that buyers are bidding up prices.
Tunes to cash: “For older clients, it gives them an opportunity to convert their music rights for significant cash today on a favorable tax basis.”
Paul Glass, Pam Malek, Amir Malek
Glass: Vice Chair
Malek, Malek: Managing Directors
The Colony Group
The trio is based in Brentwood, Calif. Glass handles touring acts, singer-songwriters, recording artists, TV/film talent and execs; many have been clients for 30 years. Pam Malek focuses on touring and aids music talent in evaluating monetization of their music publishing/recording rights. Amir’s practice spans music talent, writers, TV and film talent, execs and high-net-worth individuals. With the pandemic putting the kibosh on concerts, Glass worked to help music clients generate money from their personal intellectual property.
What happened to Jerry? For actors, Glass says business managers need to help clients grasp Hollywood’s new economics. “They might do more shows for the year, but get smaller income per show. There aren’t as many ‘Seinfelds’ as before.”
Carrie MalcolmFounding Partner
CRM Management/Division of NKSFBMalcolm’s trip to New Zealand to visit clients Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons on a film set was nixed by the pandemic in 2020. But Malcolm recently went to a festival presentation of their film “The Power of the Dog” in New York, where she’s based. She handles actors, filmmakers and production companies.
TV rising: Clients that used to talk up films as passion projects increasingly warm to TV series, “which enjoy growing prestige.”
David Weise, Beth Sabbagh
David Weise & Associates, Division of NKSFB
Weise and Sabbagh run a music centric-practice. Clients include Alice in Chains, Coldplay, Common, Deadmau5, Carole King, Korn, Usher, Lil Wayne and the Weeknd. During the pandemic, Sabbagh helped clients revise finances as concert paydays disappeared.
Benefits: Some pandemic aid programs have broad eligibility criteria. “Be on the lookout for anything that could be available for clients and then take a shot,” says Sabbagh.
Brandy L. DavisOwner/Founder
Davis Financial GroupDavis became introspective when recovering from a broken bone just as the pandemic hit, but like the post-pandemic economy, she bounced back. She decided to open her own shop in January. Her clients are film and TV figures, athletes and high-net-worth individuals.
Seeing them through: As clients reeled from the COVID crisis, Davis found that her job also required therapeutic soothing. “When you add in the pandemic, you end up talking with clients on a more emotional level.”
Pat Dunn, Mark Pariser, Tony PeyrotDunn: Founding PartnerPariser, Peyrot: Partners
Dunn, Pariser and PeyrotWhile some areas of the industry are still crawling back from the pandemic, Dunn, Pariser and Peyrot have found that the remote work methods normalized by the lockdown have not only been good for the employees, they’ve helped the firm pick up new international clients.
Worldwide business: “I have one client that lives in Mexico City, starring in one of the Marvel movies filming in Atlanta, and a director who was based in South Africa that’s here directing a limited series on Netflix,” says Peyrot. His personal roster also includes TV creator/showrunner Rob Thomas (“Veronica Mars”), writer-producer Gary Janetti (“Family Guy”), actors Giancarlo Esposito (“The Mandalorian”) and Tiffany Boone (“Hunters”). Pariser works with indie labels and musicians as well as film and television producers including Matt Tolmach and Michael Edelstein. Dunn, who founded the firm in 1996, works with clients including actor Randall Park (“WandaVision”) and manages the financials of EatWell, a Canadian plant-based food company he co-founded.
Julie Boos, Jamie Cheek, Duane Clark, Erica Rosa, Paul Barnabee, Mary Ann McCready, Carmen Romano, David Boyer
Boos: Co-Owner, Business Manager, Chairman
Cheek: Co-Owner, Business Manager, President
Clark: Co-Owner, Business Manager, Vice Chairman
Rosa: VP, Royalties and Contract Compliance
Barnabee: Director of West Coast Operations
McCready: Founding Co-Owner, Business Manager
Romano, Boyer: Co-Owners, Business Managers, VPs
Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy
Boos, Cheek, Clark, McCready, and Boyer are based at the Nashville headquarters; Rosa and Barnabee work in L.A.; and Romano in New York. News reports indicate the firm’s clients include Eric Church, Luke Combs, Kesha, Kings of Leon, the Tom Petty estate, Rage Against the Machine and Blake Shelton. Boos oversees FBMM’s staff in three offices, sets corporate strategy and handles music clients. Cheek sets the vision for client service and manages music clients worldwide. Clark handles clients, works FBMM’s strategic plan and is a two-time winner of the Country Music Assn.’s Business Manager of the Year award. Rosa leads the royalty group, evaluates music catalog values and oversees contract compliance and royalties. Barnabee works business management. McCready handles clients, and became the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s board chair in August and was honored with Variety’s Business Manager Elite Award for 2018. Romano develops new income sources for clients. A former recording artist, Boyer is a business manager active in music and film.
Full service: The cutback in touring during the pandemic tested whether the industry had prepared clients for rainy days, Boos says. “Business managers were the star of the show last year,” she says. Boos also observes that business managers are part accountants, part finance educators and part psychologist for clients.
Christopher CurryFounding Principal
Forward Business ManagementCurry launched his own firm at the beginning of 2021, determined to be a personal antidote to corporate consolidation in his industry. “I’m going back to the basics of the business management, where I’m the gatekeeper and outsource CFO that protects the clients,” he says.
Music expertise: Curry’s client roster is about 65% music-related and 30% film and TV. A former lawyer at Universal Music, he uses his expertise to help facilitate music catalog sales.
Andrew MeyerFounding Partner
Freemark FinancialWith a well-rounded clientele of actors, writers, directors and producers, Meyer handles Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jon M. Chu, Adam Driver, Eric Heisserer, Anna Kendrick, Ellen Pompeo, Alexander Skarsgård, Constance Wu and Ramy Youssef. As the pandemic shut down traditional work, Meyer says his clients shifted gears to entrepreneurial initiatives that have “been interesting and gratifying to support.”
Values-based: Meyer helps his roster navigate tools that help their investments match their values — environmental, social and governance. “That’s something that’s new, cutting edge and has resonated with clients,” he says.
Clients include Activist Artist Management; marketing execs David Droga and Omar Johnson; influencer Anastasia Karanikolaou; and Southern rock duo Larkin Poe. Rodriguez handles music, production companies, ad agencies and high-net-worth outside Hollywood. A growing slice of his practice is consulting for companies. For example, clients may ask “should we open another office or not?”
Collaboration: “They want us to think with them about their businesses and look ahead,” he says.
Eric Fulton, Elizabeth Ricin, Matthew Gilbert-Aranoff
Fulton: Founding Partner
Ricin, Gilbert-Aranoff: Partners
The team at Fulton Management handles some big names in front of and behind the camera (Chris Hemsworth, Channing Tatum, Taika Waititi, Mayim Bialik, Taran Killam), along with top social-media influencers (Rhett & Link, Emily Ratajkowski) and major athletes (Conor McGregor). But, because it bills clients on an hourly basis, it also attracts a large number of young, up-and-coming talent from all corners of the media world, including platforms such as TikTok. Fulton founded the Encino, Calif.-based firm in 1990, and brought in Gilbert-Aranoff in 2005. Ricin joined as a bookkeeper more than two decades ago and was named partner in 2015.
Future-proofing: “It’s still a little bit of the wild west out there as far as that type of client goes,” Fulton says. “It always starts out with a conversation about how you’re doing, things are getting better and better and you’re making good money, but don’t plan on this lasting forever.”
Mike Skeet, Simon Hopkins, Jeff Kaye
Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman (London)
When Gelfand, Rennert acquired London-based music specialists Skeet Kaye Hopkins in 2019, the plan was to have Skeet spend two-thirds of the year in Los Angeles, where many of that firm’s British clients live and work, so the company could be consistently hands-on with its accounting, business management, royalty and taxation services, no matter which side of the pond clients were on. But the pandemic lockdown threw an unexpected wrench into the works, keeping Skeet in L.A. from March 2020 until last month. Now that the lockdowns have lifted, the British trio is working with clients to restart their live touring businesses in a post-COVID world.
Tested by tests: “It’s people operating in bubbles, no longer having guests backstage, and a lot of testing going on,” Skeet says. “If you’re doing regular testing for a big crew, you’ve got a sudden big additional cost, and different countries have different rules on testing, so it makes it a bit more difficult to navigate than it normally would be.”
Tyson Beem, Grady Brown, Andrew Crow, Mark Goodman, Adriane Hibbert, David Lloyd, Melissa Morton, Anton Pamer
Beem, Brown, Crow, Goodman, Hibbert, Lloyd, Morton: Managing Directors, Los Angeles
Pamer: Managing Director, New York
Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman
Gelfand, Rennart & Feldman has a large team of business managers serving client needs that have shifted and grown in unusual ways as the global pandemic has waxed and waned. Since the lockdowns lifted, one of the big challenges has been helping clients deal with shortages of everything from crew members and buses for live tours to personal assistants and nannies at home. “I’ll do anything I can to help my clients to make sure that they feel supported and successful, whether it’s calling up agencies, interviewing nannies or reaching out to friends to look for staff, asking, ‘Do you know anybody?’” says Morton. In the L.A. office, Morton, Beem, Brown, Goodman and Hibbert handle a variety of touring musicians and singer-songwriters, actors, writers, directors, entrepreneurs and YouTube and social-media influencers, while Crow has multi-hyphenate Jordan Peele, actors Olivia Holt and Alan Tudyk, and Norwegian songwriting and music production team Stargate. In New York, Pamer has a roster rich with music, fashion, film and television and talent.
New initiatives: Whether it’s due to more downtime or reduced revenue streams, across the board clients have been getting more entrepreneurial, post-COVID. “Clients that never thought about doing brand deals are doing more entrepreneurial things like their own product lines,” Morton says.
Christopher Fazzolari, John MenneciFazzolari: Managing Director, Los Angeles Menneci: Managing Director, New York
Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman (Audits, Royalty)It’s been a busy time for Fazzolari and Menneci, who head up Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman’s 40-person royalty consulting services division. They work with artists as well as independent labels to track the money due to artists across multiple media and platforms — including the exploding streaming space — using specialized tools to analyze the data. They’ve increasingly been called upon to consult on the value of royalty streams for artist catalog sales and potential rights reversions under the Copyright Act of 1976. For the latter, “we’ll provide consulting services alongside the attorneys who are really getting in the weeds with the reversion rights and the language in the agreement,” Fazzolari says.
Negotiation boost: “What we’ll often do is calculate the effect of potential reversion on an artist’s catalog to assist them in negotiations with the record companies or publishers,” he says.
David Garelick, Jarrod HicksGarelick: President/CEO
Hicks: Account ManagerGlobal Business Management
Garelick began working for Global Music Business Management in 1987, but the company can trace its roots back to New York in 1960. Today, he runs the company out of its Sherman Oaks, Calif., headquarters, while Hicks operates its Nashville office. It has a roster of 60, including Oscar-winners Anthony Hopkins, Ernest Thompson and Robert Nagle, director Bethany Rooney, celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich, numerous active NFL players, and a large collection of DJs, including DJ Vice, as well as Sujit Kundu, president and CEO of SKAM Artist Management, which reps DJs.
Go easy on crypto: While Garelick is proud of how adeptly the company has kept in step with the times, he cautions clients to go slowly with some things including cryptocurrency. “I tell our clients a small allocation based on their risk tolerance and in their portfolios is OK,” he says.
Laura GordonFounder & CEO
Gordon & Associates
This boutique firm specializes in wealth management, tax planning and preparation, and small-business development for a clientele of pro athletes, musicians, comedians, producers, directors and high-net-worth individuals. Gordon takes pride in being a Black female accountant in a field dominated by white men.
Giving back: Gordon & Associates includes a philanthropic arm. Gordon follows the advice of her grandmother “who taught us that it’s better to give than to receive.”
Warren Grant, Jane Tani, Corey Barash, Howard Altman, Kim Ibrahim, Zoe Lawrence, Fran Wild, David JacksonPartners
Grant, Tani, Barash & Altman
The firm’s practice spans clients in film and TV, as well as digital media, including podcasters, influencers, and consumer products and music. The firm also works private equity investments, real estate and taxation optimization. Tani, Barash, Altman, Ibrahim, Lawrence, Wild and Jackson are based in Beverly Hills. During the pandemic, the firm maintained its services with staff working remotely.
Female presence: In a male-dominated industry, the firm has a relatively large number of women partners with long tenures.
John McIlwee, Alex Grissom
McIlwee: Founding Partner
Grissom: Senior Business Manager
J. McIlwee & AssociatesAfter 30 years at his previous firm, McIlwee struck out on his own in December 2019, taking with him account manager Grissom and all 41 of his clients, including Matt Reeves (“The Batman”) and his production company 6th and Idaho; Jane Lynch (host of NBC’s “The Weakest Link”); actors Maura Tierney (Showtime’s “American Rust”), Christian Serratos (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”), Tanisha Long (BET’s “Bigger”), Curran Walters (HBO Max’s “Titans”) and Duncan Joiner (Amazon’s “Tales From the Loop”); and Olympic skateboarder Sky Brown.
Mobility: While his clients have remained largely the same, McIlwee says the pandemic has changed their lives. “People, especially talent, are realizing they can shoot a series somewhere for four months and be somewhere completely different for the other six or eight,” he says.
Kessler, Schneider & ScheltingaClients include Alyson Hannigan, Ed Helms, Carol Mendelsohn, John Requa and David Semel. Schneider handles film/TV talent and execs, talent agencies and management companies. Some clients worked through the lockdown; others bounced back.
Crypto risks: One client was paid by a blockchain company in cryptocurrency warrants, “which is speculative and can be fruitless,” says Schneider. “But in this instance, his service fee is six to eight times his original deal.”
Founder and Managing Director
Lee doesn’t look like the typical business manager. First of all, she’s female, and sometimes, instead of wearing conservative power suits, will wear a T-shirt, jeans and a leather jacket. The one way she resembles the other top players in her field is the impressive client list she maintains, populated with multiplatinum rockers, rappers and producers, as well a top FX house.
Getting it done: “I’ve had a lot of my clients for a very long time now, and they like the way we’re doing the job,” she says.
John Rigney, Matt Lichtenberg, Mark D. Friedman, Charles B. Clancy, Mark Cattalini, Paul Ta
Rigney, Lichtenberg, Friedman: Partners
Clancy, Cattalini, Ta: Executives
Level Four Business ManagementClients for Rigney include Samuel L. Jackson and Danny McBride; for Litchtenberg, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Joe Rogan; for Friedman, Quentin Tarantino; for Clancy, Phil Lord and Chris Miller; for Cattalini, showrunners Patrick Somerville and David Weil; for Ta, Cheech Marin and Fred Durst. The six are all in L.A. and share a film/TV focus. During the pandemic, Cattalini says staff had to adjust to remote work. “You knew it was going to get better, but you just didn’t know when,” he says.
Bridge over troubled waters: Cattalini says during financial uncertainty, client ears are particularly attuned to advice. So amid the lockdown it was back to prioritizing spending. That meant telling clients “it’s not that you can’t have certain things, but you can’t have them all at once.”
Marius Bercovici, Justin Kobay, Bruce Seckendorf
LL Business ManagementBercovici, Kobay and Seckendorf handle music-industry artists, executives, labels and management companies, and are headquartered in Lake Success, N.Y., with a Los Angeles office. Clients include Grammy-winning artist Lil Nas X; Grammy-winning producer Timbaland; the estate of Jarad Higgins (aka Juice Wrld); artist-songwriter Lauv; Grammy-nominated producer Omer Fedi; Grammy-winning producer-songwriter Chris DeStefano; producer collective and record label Internet Money; director, writer and musician Boots Riley; Disney actor/music artist Kylie Cantrall; and artist Trippie Redd.
Artist power: With the pandemic shutting down concert tours, Kobay says clients improved their residences or bought new ones, finding they could be productive and make a living from home. In business, clients increasingly focus on owning their output in social media, music and licensed merchandise. “Traditionally, creatives only got a small piece of that,” Kobay says. “Usually, the ownership was held by a large corporation.”
Lauren Adovasio, Elizabeth Campos, Jack Sinoryan
Founded in 2016 by a group departing financial services giant J.P. Morgan, Los Angeles-based Manhattan West brought in Adovasio the following year to start its business management division, which today handles a mix of actors, producers, musicians, athletes, execs and production companies. Campos and Sinorayan joined in 2020, a week before the lockdown, which seemed to bring more clients to the firm.
Big shake-up: “The pandemic put a lot of people into crisis mode and drove them to either seek out or change business managers who could handle things that others might not have been able to handle before, whether it be PPP loans or something else,” says Campos, who worked with the Kardashian-Jenner clan for more than a decade, helping build out their brand and grow their businesses. Adovasio specializes in music industry clients, while Sinorayan’s strength is in comedy, and Campos works with “all of the above.”
Steve Gelon, Alex Smith, Steve Glodney, Van Lee, Justin Sroka
Gelon: Managing Partner
Smith: Partner-in-Charge — Business Management
Glodney, Lee: Partners
Mann Gelon Glodney Gumerove Yee
The firm’s clients include TV series creators, actors, writers, producers, directors, musicians, athletes and social-media influencers. Behind the scenes, the practice boasts a balance of seasoned vets and next-gen employees. Glodney has been with the firm since 1994. Lee joined about four years ago, bringing with her expertise in handling the estates of the rich and famous. Smith came aboard in 2015 and frequently works on his film, TV, social media, sports and music clients with Sroka, who arrived in last year.
The taxman cometh — not: “We’re laser-focused on the implementation of California AB 150, which will provide tax relief for our clients who have been unable to deduct their state taxes since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2018,” says Smith.
MGOCentury City-based Blakeman handles film/TV, sports, digital-media influencers, production companies and next-generation talent. His pandemic experience is different than that of business managers with idle clients; Blakeman’s roster actively landed TV deals, and his up-and-comers worked in digital media to launch their careers.
Direct contact: Blakeman observes that consumer marketers increasingly contact talent directly to start negotiations for celebrity ambassador gigs, and then talent quickly brings business managers into the conversation along with their lawyers and agents. “That’s a little different for business managers than a few years ago,” he says.
Michael Kaplan, Justine RuffaloKaplan: Managing Partner
Kaplan was named top partner in December of the accounting firm that has a large business management department in entertainment. With a staff of over 200, it operates six offices covering the Western U.S. Kaplan works a wide-ranging Hollywood practice. Ruffalo reps music talent, advises companies buying/selling music catalogs and handles actors. She says clients constantly propose ideas to generate income as entrepreneurs in tech (including digital non-fungible tokens) or lifestyle ventures.
Hear your clients: Ruffalo listens closely “because sometimes they have an insight that’s really valuable.” She investigates ideas afterward to help clients weed out the bad initiatives.
Mark Landesman, Paul Zukowsky, Scott Landesman
ML Management Partners
Landesman started with Eddie Murphy when both were in their early 20s — they’ve been together 37 years. Landesman, Zukowsky and Mark’s son Scott are based in New York, repping film, TV, comedic talent and executives. Scott also handles podcasters. Their other clients include James Cameron, Pete Davidson, Vin Diesel, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Rock and Bruce Willis. When the pandemic lockdown hit, Mark says at-home clients became highly engaged in their personal finances since they weren’t employed. Then clients returned to work in a wave, requiring another surge of services.
A changed world: “COVID has blurred everything,” says Mark, adding that his email inbox is as full on weekends as weekdays. Client gigs recently tilted to more non-standard deals, requiring more attention, such as jobs with video streamers where the compensation template is different from the systems of traditional Hollywood.
Monarch Business & Wealth Management
Manhattan-based Klarberg’s clients include DJ Kaskade; street-artist Alec Monopoly; actor Sophia Bush; ESPN host/entrepreneur Jay Williams; supermodels Martha Hunt and Anok Yai; influencer/entrepreneur Danielle Bernstein; AEW world champion Kenny Omega; R&B singer/actor Quincy Brown; and rapper Tierra Whack. When the stock market slumped in March, Klarberg told nervous clients, “You can’t panic. You have to make strategic decisions. And every one of them listened.”
Complicated lives: Klarberg says client affairs are becoming more complex. For example, actors dive into tech ventures requiring “a holistic approach to every realm of their professional life.”
Founder and Partner
Neuman and Associates Division of NKSFBClients include Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres and Ted Sarandos. Neuman says hot topics for clients are whether to invest in cryptocurrency and making/selling digital merchandise as non-fungible assets. Neuman sees “the way the talent gets paid is going to evolve over the next 12 months.” Box office is no longer a reliable lever for talent bonus pay, as streamers siphon cinema audiences. His client Johansson litigated that issue with Disney.
What’s ahead: Neuman looks to bonuses linked to premium-VOD revenue generated by films credited with lifting streamer subscriber counts.
Mickey Segal, David Bolno, Michael Karlin, Dian Vaughn, Larry Tyler, Matt Segal, Michael Oppenheim, Bernie GudviSegal: Founding and Managing Partner
Bolno: Name Partner
Karlin: Founding Partner
Vaughn, Tyler, Segal, Oppenheim, Gudvi: Partners
NKSFBSegal oversees Hollywood’s biggest business management specialist with 600 employees in five offices; he still handles a short list of long-standing clients. The firm, which is a Focus Financial company, has grown through acquisitions, and Segal says some more could materialize soon. Mickey and son Matt, Bolno, Karlin, Vaughn and Tyler are based in Westwood. Oppenheim and Gudvi are in Encino. Their clients include Adam Levine/Maroon 5, A$AP Rocky, Ben Wallace, Beyoncé, Bill Maher, Bruno Mars, Conan O’Brien, Demi Moore, Drake, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Frank Miller, Jessica Biel, Jonah Hill, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Kate Hudson, Katy Perry, Kenya Barris, Madonna, Marciano Family Group, Michael Strahan, Pharrell Williams, Post Malone, Russell Westbrook, Scooter Braun, Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Steve Aoki, Will.i.am and Wolfgang Puck.
Bolno specializes in music and athletes, including crafting business plans for recording and music publishing startups. Karlin handles executives including for contract negotiations, and film/TV and music talent. Vaughn focuses on film/TV talent, music talent and playwrights. Tyler handles music clients including helping them structure business entities. Matt Segal’s clients are athletes and Hollywood talent. Oppenheim is focused on music talent including touring and film/TV talent. Gudvi, who was Variety’s Business Managers Elite Honoree last year, handles Hollywood and sports clients.
Upward pressure: America’s shortage of job applicants hit the business manager industry too, says Mickey Segal, pushing up salaries. Executive search firms are more active and job-hopping has picked up. From the employer perspective, Segal notes, “We’re all driving each other’s employee costs because the search firms are presenting [candidates] to us at a substantial increase, many in the range of 20%-30%.”
Parr3Merriman’s music-centric practice includes multi-hyphenate producer Louis Bell; singer-songwriters Clairo and Kehlani; record label LVRN; singer-rapper 6lack; and electronic dance music’s Alison Wonderland. Because digital media is full of audience data, Merriman compares listening stats to royalty statements to check clients’ pay. The firm that Merriman founded in 2013 added 10 employees during the pandemic, growing to 35 people.
Employee satisfaction: Moving from managing a startup to a mid-sized operation, Merriman increasingly focuses on work environment because “if my team feels supported when it shows up for work every day, that comes out in the quality of our service.”
Thomas F. Smith, Bruce I. Kolbrenner, Lahteefah Parramore, Simon Winters, Mark Carter, Maren Stenseth, Jennifer Coyne
Smith: Partner — Entertainment Industry Leader
Kolbrenner: Managing Partner — Los Angeles
Parramore, Winters: Partners
Carter, Stenseth: Principals
Smith focuses on music, entertainment and TV companies and litigation services. Kolbrenner specializes in music/touring, entertainment clients and royalty audits. Parramore handles entertainers, music, athletes and non-profits. Winters is focused on entertainment, music and athletes with specialties in tax planning, forensic accounting and litigation support. Carter covers music, entertainment and athlete clients. Stenseth concentrates on entertainment and music clients with specialties in taxation and retirement planning. Coyne handles entertainment, artist management companies, music execs, athletes, venture capital deals, cryptocurrency and digital assets.
Raising awareness: Smith says the year was marked rising valuations for music publishing/royalty streams. He says it’s smart for creatives to cultivate higher re-sale prices after the initial transaction to stoke interest in new NFTs.
Senior Managing Director
Provident Financial Management
Siegel, who is Variety’s 2021 Business Managers Elite Honoree, has built a roster that includes Al Pacino, Mike Judge, David Mamet and Des McAnuff. He also has many music artists, including longtime clients Air Supply and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, many of whom have expressed interest in exploring the red-hot market for music catalog sales.
Don’t sell it all: “If they’re still active in the business, we advise our clients to never sell 100% of their income source, because that way they have an interest in continuing to promote their business, and when they do new product, it helps sell older product,” he says.
Senior Managing Director
Provident Financial Management
Vuylsteke’s musician-rich roster had its touring business shut down by the pandemic last year, but it came roaring back in 2021 with clients ranging from Green Day and Weezer to Sheryl Crow hitting the road, giving him a crash course in COVID-19 concert protocols. He’s also been busy with the booming market for musicians’ publishing and recording catalogs, assisting on $350 million-plus worth of deals for clients and non-clients alike.
Untangling rights: “Initially, you’re figuring out what they own and what their titles actually are and getting it to the point where people can understand it,” says Vuylsteke, whose other clients include Shakira, Lucy Liu and talent manager Guy Oseary.
Phil Sarna, Tara Beaudine-MooreSarna: Senior Managing Director Beaudine-Moore: Director
PS Business Management
Sarna’s New York-based firm handles a mix of figures from the worlds of film, fashion, sports and, music, including Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Halsey, Camila Cabello, Sara Bareilles, Arcade Fire, the National and Benny Blanco. Beaudine-Moore joined the team 15 years ago, bringing with her a “passion for music and a brain for numbers,” Sarna says.
State of the biz: “It’s an exciting time for art and artists,” he says. “The pandemic has allowed them to reset, relax and create. Their work will be a historical and cultural archive of the challenging times.”
Anna DerParseghian, John Power, Jason Brown, Leo Jenkins, Darren Calbay
Parseghian: Managing Partner
Power: Senior Partner
Brown, Jenkins, Calbay: Partners
PTD Business Management
The firm handles entertainment talent in front of and behind the camera, touring comedy including four of the top 10 grossers, talent management, entertainment attorneys and digital content creators. DerParseghian is one of few women in charge of a firm in the sector. Power, the only still-active founding partner, works big client transactions. Brown is focused on Hollywood talent, multi-hyphenates and touring clients. Jenkins handles live touring comedians and entertainers and an expanding podcast and digital-media practice. Calbay leads the team for domestic/international taxation. As clients found their world turned upside-down in the pandemic, Jenkins says business managers helped them budget for the worst while hoping for the best.
Ultimate discretion: Business managers are unique confidantes because of societal taboos not to reveal personal money matters to peers, friends and even family, Jenkins says. “What we do is both ends of the spectrum, both business and personal, although only ‘business’ is in our job titles.”
Alan Reback, Derrick Lee
Reback Lee & Co.
The duo specializes in high-profile awards telecasts, with Reback handling production accounting and Lee tackling tax issues, while they both serve as business managers for a roster of fine artists, actors, producers, writers, directors, executives, production companies and non-showbiz high-net-worth individuals. In 2021, the firm earned its version of EGOT, providing production accounting services for the Emmys, the Grammys, the Oscars and the Tonys. The partners were at separate firms when they began working together in 1995. Nine years later, they launched their eponymous company.
Content everywhere: The recent content explosion has been good for business, with some clients doing as many as 20 additional shows a year just for streaming services. “Once the streamers are happy with the production company, they want to give them as much as possible,” Reback says.
Brett Anderson, Vera Singartiyska, Andréa Bacon, Jared Kroll
Savitsky Satin Bacon & Bucci
The Century City-based quartet handles film and TV producers, writers, directors, actors and executives; professional athletes; digital influencers; and the wealthy outside entertainment. The firm is owned by insurance broker/consultancy NFP. Anderson has clients in the digital media and beauty space, TV/film writers, producers, Hollywood execs, and families; and specializes in business planning for digital media creators. Singartiyska handles an array of clients and high-net-worth individuals, with particular expertise on international tax planning. Bacon focuses on studio execs, producers, directors, actors, screenwriters, musicians, composers, photographers and publishers. Kroll’s clientele works before and behind the camera and encompasses writers, managers, songwriters, composers, influencers and athletes.
Office bliss: What started as a “lunch buddy” assignment for partner Jeff Bacon in 1991 to acclimate a then-new employee blossomed over time to a 1994 marriage to Andréa Bacon.
Scott F. Guber
SFG Business Management
Clients include director-producer Anthony Hemingway (“Red Tails,” “Genius: Aretha”), cinematographer and producer David Miller (“Veep,” “Mr. Mayor”), director-producer Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Confess, Fletch”) and talent manager/producer Rory Rosegarten (“Everybody Loves Raymond”). Guber says the slowing job market because of the pandemic allowed his clients more time to scrutinize work offers, as well as put more effort into personal passion projects.
Conservative measures: With the Delta variant and Hollywood labor uncertainty clouding the economic outlook, Manhattan-based Guber says, “We’re advising clients to once again dig in and reassess their spending habits. While we can’t control the inflow, we can control the outflow.”
Rick Shephard, Mark TinglofShephard: Founding Partner
Shephard Tinglof & Associates
Shephard and Tinglof first met 35 years ago when they worked at the same firm, and they regularly played poker together before finally deciding to join forces. The pair also have many longstanding clients, including Courtney Cox (pre-“Friends”), Jon Favreau (since 1996’s “Swingers”) and Ben Stiller (since 1998’s “There’s Something About Mary”). Other clients include Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, Meredith Hagner, Tara Strong, David Schiff, Jeff Kleeman, Alan Poul and Narrative Media.
Surprise growth: While the pandemic may have been the worst of times in many ways, Shephard says it was a surprisingly prosperous period for his clients. “So long as your business manager is flexible, not tied to any particular strategy, everyone seems to be finding their wealth has increased,” he says.
Matthew Burke, Richard Singer, Stephanie Connor Arkof, Amitha Harichandran, Elaina KoganBurke: Managing Partner Singer, Arkof, Harichandran: Wealth Management Partners Kogan: Tax Partner
Singer BurkeThe firm’s clients include TV producers/showrunners, some of whom are working on “Bridgerton,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Netflix limited series “Maid” and animated Amazon series “Invincible.” They handle digital media, high tech and personal management companies. In the COVID era, Burke says work tilted to tax matters, including moving domiciles from high-tax areas and buying second homes, when clients realized they could work efficiently remotely. In personal finance, Burke says the Opportunity Zones federal tax breaks for real estate, created in 2017, “are a once-in-a-generation chance to shield significant capital gains from taxes.”
Positive social impact: With the boom in real estate, Harichandran says clients need to efficiently handle taxes on the big gains in properties purchased over the past five to 10 years. “Rolling over these investments into Opportunity Zones has not only provided tax benefits but achieved positive social impact,” Harichandran says.
Jordan Josephs, Andrea Link
Josephs: Director, Business Management
Link: Partner, Business Management
The firm can trace its history back to 1959 Los Angeles and over the decades it has spread out to 15 offices across five states. However, its business management and sports and entertainment department is still based in L.A. and for the most part still handles the traditional collection of actors, directors, film and TV producers, music artists, producers and athletes. But in recent years it has experienced an influx of social media influencers and other digital-first entrepreneurs such as podcasters who have their own economic quirks, which, it turns out, gave them an economic edge during the lockdown.
Digital leads the way: “Advertising and marketing companies allocate budgets way in advance, so they had budgets already set aside [for social media] and maybe even reallocated budgets from things like live events and put them into new digital marketing opportunities because you can do those remotely,” Josephs says. “You also have the consumers who are spending money on things like subscriptions, like merch, so [digital talent] did pretty well.”
Summit Business ManagementShapiro’s independent firm services about 500 entertainment clients, including Zendaya, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Aaron Paul, Elliott Gould and Vanessa Hudgens. In spite of the pandemic, most are having a very good year in 2021, especially the 150 writers the firm handles. However, eight did sell their homes in California and leave the state. They mostly moved to non-income tax states (Texas, Florida and Nevada), but the moves weren’t necessarily motivated by economics.
Exit sign: “They just felt the state wasn’t as conducive to raising a family as it once was. But I think they may discover down the line that the grass is a little greener in California,” says Shapiro.
William H. Tanner, Peter Mainstain, Michael L. Glynn, Bradley W. Johnson, Thomas F. Fouladi, Robert Harrison, David A. CoronelPartners
Tanner Mainstain Glynn & JohnsonThe seven represent film/TV talent in front of and behind the camera, Hollywood executives including in music, composers of TV program music, athletes and other sports figures. Clients include Sean Callery, Jackie Chan, Martin Henderson, Michael Keaton, Jordan Kerner, Marc Lawrence, Aaron Sorkin, Krista Vernoff and Bradley Whitford. Their firm was acquired by insurance broker/consultancy NFP in July. Fouladi says the pandemic made for new tasks such as helping clients refinance homes amid income declines and applying for financial aid programs. Ordinarily, Fouladi would meet personally with clients, but made a point of videoconferencing to see how they were holding up in the shutdown as well as to conduct business. He says video streaming jobs for clients provide front-loaded pay, including signing bonuses, but that such practices increase the need for more savings to cover later employment gaps.
Planning for the missing backend: Fouladi points out that traditional Hollywood work provided downstream bonuses — the so-called backends not typically found in streaming deals — that would cover later employment gaps. “It’s more imperative for clients to have a savings plan and that they don’t spend every dollar as it comes in,” he says.
Tanton GrubmanFocused on music, particularly R&B and rap, Grubman’s clients include record producer-songwriter and DJ Black Coffee, the Christina Grimmie Foundation of the late singer, rapper French Montana, emerging rap star Capella Grey, graffiti artist Futura, Legacy Records (paying artists in bitcoin) and experiential-marketing agency Team Epiphany.
New streams: In June, college athletes were allowed to license their name-image-likeness, and he predicts these “are going to be amazing sources of revenue.” He’s the only non-attorney on the New York City Bar’s entertainment law committee navigating digital expansion.
Josh KleinManaging Partner
TKG Business ManagementClients include the Chainsmokers, supermodel Winnie Harlow, Logic, Modest Mouse, Normani, Kelly Rowland, Big Sean and the X Ambassadors. Klein focuses on the music industry figures, athletes, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals. He used the pandemic slowdown re-educate clients about benefits of passive investments including the stock market and real estate.
Independence is best: Klein is no fan of consolidation sweeping the business manager industry. He says merging firms “present an inherent conflict of interest and take away from the true philosophy of being an independent fiduciary to our clients.” That includes limiting competition and favoring in-house service providers.
Joe McGillPartnerTopline Business Management
One of the very few Black-owned entertainment business management companies, McGill’s firm has a client roster that includes director Adam Wingard (“Godzilla vs. Kong”), actors Aliya Royale (“The Red Line”) and Mykal-Michelle Harris (“Big Little Lies”), as well as singer Diamante Bovelli. Born and raised in South L.A., McGill attended college on a football scholarship, but shifted his focus to his accounting studies after an injury ended his athletic career.
Access to Topline’s top: “One of our biggest calling cards is, when you come on board with Topline, you have complete access to me and my business partner Bryan Meyer.”
Yorkshire Management GroupThe Los Angeles-based Yorkshire handles music artists, and their touring, actors and athletes. Yorkshire says clients increasingly seek advice on investments in both the traditional (e.g. the stock market) and so-called alternative spheres. The latter are often startup businesses including apps related to client business, such as music discovery apps, and personal-care products. He sees clients leaning on their business manager more than ever as their commercial prospects expand — for example, celebrities cashing in on personal side-deals outside their Hollywood careers.
The big one: “Everyone wants to catch that next app or next brand on the way up,” Yorkshire says.
Good Advice Helped Showbiz Talent Survive Pandemic