In his first career, Mark Hebner was a nuclear pharmacist, the co-founder and CEO of a radiopharmaceuticals company. For his second and present career, he chose registered investment advisor specializing in online investing with index funds.

Those two professions have zero in common — but not when it comes to career strategy: With both, the marketing-minded Hebner pioneered a brand-new, uncharted field.

Indeed, the founder and president of Index Fund Advisors, launched in 1999, is smart about capitalizing on what he spots as outsize opportunities.

To wit, the nuclear pharmacy career panned out so well he retired at 32 with $6 million only 10 years after co-founding the company, as he tells ThinkAdvisor in an interview.

Hebner, who credits himself with the idea of robo-advisor, invests clients’ assets exclusively in index funds, using an approach based on indexing models designed by celebrated finance professors Eugene Fama and Kenneth French.

IFA’s portfolios comprise funds sponsored chiefly by Dimensional Fund Advisors, as well as Vanguard, Fidelity and BlackRock.

Managing assets of $4.7 billion, the firm has about 2,300 high-net-worth clients and a substantial business in 401(k) and 403(b) plans.

In the interview, Hebner sharply dismisses active investing as “the biggest scam on the planet” and labels active managers “lucky coin flippers.”  

In fact, he’s gone so far as to write a book, “Index Funds: The 12-Step Recovery Program for Active…

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