Sheldon “Shelly” Altman, BSME, MBA, CIMA®

Sheldon “Shelly” Altman, BSME, MBA, CIMA®


Sheldon “Shelly” Altman, BSME, MBA, CIMA®, is Chairman of Altman Advisors. Raised in the inner city of Chicago, Shelly is the son of immigrants and married an immigrant, all of whom came to America because it is the land of opportunity. In a telling lesson from their past, his parents insisted he get an education because “they can’t take that away from you.” Reflecting on his heritage, he recalls his father-in-law’s spirited response to Shelly’s questioning him about why he immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, after escaping Ukraine. In a combination of Spanish and Yiddish, he replied: “¿Está loco? Ich bin frei!” (Are you crazy? I am free!)

Inspired by that ethos, Shelly pursued a Master of Business Administration at the University of Chicago, where he was influenced by the future Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman, who taught that economic freedom is fundamental to political freedom. He started his finance career at the esteemed A.G. Becker in the Funds Evaluation Department, where he introduced groundbreaking risk and performance measurement techniques that originated from his alma mater and are still in use today. His efforts led him to an assignment at the newly established Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE), where he played a critical role in implementing the early Black-Scholes pricing model.

Shelly’s illustrious career continued at Oppenheimer & Co, where he continued to pioneer as the company’s top fee-based portfolio manager, aligning his financial interests with those of his clients by eschewing commissions. Joining UBS in 2002 with his son and protégé, Benjamin Altman, CFP®, alongside him, he maintained his status among the top 1% of advisory teams nationwide. In 2016, he co-founded Altman Advisors, utilizing his vast experience to create an independent, fiduciary advisory firm.

Throughout his career, Shelly has seized risks and opportunities, traveled extensively, and studied languages and history. Shelly sums up his life’s work by saying he helps people put their kids through college and retire. In that way, he continues his parents’ commitments to education, freedom, and the pursuit of the American Dream. He most cherishes his 58-year marriage, his children, and his grandchildren.