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Michael Kossman CPA
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, Principal

What do you enjoy most about wealth management?

Helping people understand what their money can – or can’t – do for them, then putting it in the context of what they want to do with their lives.

What do you love most about being part of Aspiriant?

It sounds cliché, but our people – the clients, the employees, and the principals. It is a fantastic community of folks.

What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

My work at Project Open Hand that culminated in Michael Kossman Day in San Francisco.

What quality of yours makes you best suited to do what you do?

My ability to bring a practical perspective to strategic and theoretical concepts.

How should people think about their wealth?

As a means to an end. Wealth is not an end unto itself.

What do you love to do outside of work?

Travel! It’s one of life’s great pleasures to explore the world and experience all the vastness and treasure it has to offer.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at Aspiriant?

I would probably be an architect. If money were no object, I’d be traveling the world as a freelance travel writer.

What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

My community service. It started when The Gap nabbed me to volunteer at a big fund-raiser in 1992. I’ve been deeply involved in charity work ever since.

Education and accreditations

  • B.S. in Business Economics, Magna Cum Laude, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • CPA

An accomplished business and community leader, Michael is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Aspiriant, a premier wealth management firm serving an elite clientele. He joined a predecessor firm (Kochis Fitz) in August, 2000 and was Aspiriant’s CFO from formation in 2008 until 2012. He now serves on the firm's Board of Directors, Managing Committee, and Firm Strategy Committee, as well as Chairs the Compensation Committee. On a day to day basis, he manages the team of directors responsible for Investment Operations, Technology, Human Resources, Regulatory Compliance, and Legal Affairs. He brings over 25 years of broad-based business experience in finance, human resources, technology, operations, taxation, regulatory environments, and strategic planning. As a senior member of the Kochis Fitz team, Michael played a critical role in the 2008 merger with Quintile Wealth Management, and then again in the 2010 acquisition of Deloitte Investment Advisers.

Michael began his professional career as an Olympic Village Accountant in the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles while he was still in college. He spent more than five years in Price Waterhouse’s tax department in San Francisco, where he worked primarily with high net worth individuals and small businesses.

Michael received his CPA license in 1991, and shortly thereafter joined Gap, Inc., succeeding to the role of International Tax Manager, providing planning and compliance support to both domestic and foreign operating companies and expatriates in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Hong Kong, and Japan. Michael also had the honor of being selected to serve on the Gap Foundation Grants Committee. After leaving Gap, Inc., Michael worked as the Deputy Executive Director at Project Open Hand, a large institutional social services agency, for six years, where he ultimately oversaw programs that fed more than 2,000 people daily through home delivered meals, drop-in grocery programs, and congregate lunch sites.

Michael has devoted significant amounts of time and energy to the community of San Francisco, including board positions with DIFFA/San Francisco, The National AIDS Memorial Grove, and Frameline. He was also a founding board member of ANSA, now the premier international voice for nutrition services programs, and a very early member of Plan C, a local political organization. In recognition of his efforts, March 31, 2000 was proclaimed Michael Kossman Day in San Francisco by Mayor Willie L. Brown. Michael was also a finalist for the 2010 CFO of the Year Award sponsored by the San Francisco Business Times.

Michael earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1986 where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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