Skip to content

Ryan A Hughes

Husband  |  Father  |  Veteran  |   Trojan  |   Bruin

Ryan Hughes, Founder and CEO of Bull Oak Capital

Professional Bio

I am the Founder of Bull Oak Capital, an investment advisory firm in San Diego, CA. Since launching the firm, I have been listed as one of Investment News 40 Under 40, and Bull Oak Capital was listed as one of the fastest-growing firms by Wealth Management magazine.

I started the firm after graduating from the UCLA Anderson School of Business. While at UCLA, I completed an in-depth independent graduate research project where I wrote an original whitepaper on Risk-Contribution Analysis and Value Investing as a basis for portfolio management.

In addition to my current role, I also have equity analysis experience at Wedbush Securities and personal finance experience at Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Charles Schwab.

I am also a proud U.S. Navy veteran, where I completed two deployments to the Persian Gulf as a VBSS team-member.

I completed my undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California (USC). Yes, I went to both USC and UCLA. I support both schools, despite their rivalry. UCLA Anderson was instrumental to the successful launch of this firm. However, when it comes to football, I support the Trojans. Fight On!


Years of Experience


# of Financial Plans Created


Happy Clients

Personal Bio

Hughes Family

I have a fantastic wife that has been supportive of all my endeavors throughout our marriage. We also have two amazing kids. Our son enjoys sports and math and our daughter loves gymnastics and music. We live in the Del Sur community of San Diego.

Where I’m From

I was born and raised by my grandparents in Pueblo, CO. After graduating from Pueblo County High School in 2000, I had a very strong desire to serve my country. Two months after receiving my high school diploma, I enlisted in the United States Navy.

Ryan in the Navy


I served onboard the USS Jarrett and was deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. When I achieved the rank of Second Class Petty officer, I joined the command’s Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) team. We boarded numerous ships in the Persian Gulf to capture enemy vessels, combat terrorism, piracy, smuggling, and conduct customs. In July 2004, after returning from my second deployment, I decided that it was time for me to advance my formal education.


After separating from the Navy, I got accepted to the University of Southern California (USC), where I studied business and entrepreneurial studies. During my senior year, I interned at Merrill Lynch & Co. at their flagship office in Beverly Hills. Using the discipline I obtained in the Navy, I turned the internship into a full-time job upon graduation.

Ryan at Merrill Lynch


My first day on the job was in mid-2007, where I joined a very large and successful corporate retirement planning team at Merrill Lynch as a Junior Partner. However, by October 2008, the Great Financial Crisis was at its height, and Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch. As a result, my team’s future was in jeopardy. As the most junior member on the team, I was left in a difficult situation without much help.

Shortly thereafter, I joined Morgan Stanley as a traditional Financial Advisor and built a small book of business over several years. I was recruited by Charles Schwab in 2010 and joined with the promise that I would be “making more money and working fewer hours.” While true, the sales culture and the high churn rate made me miserable. This was when I began to realize the importance of financial expertise and fiduciary responsibility.

Ryan starting Bull Oak


I quit my job in 2012 after getting accepted to the UCLA Anderson School of Business. I studied Investment Management and immersed myself in the academic world of finance. While there, I completed a year-long graduate research project studying the feasibility of passive investing and risk-weighting for retail investors. I wrote a whitepaper detailing the findings of these studies, which ultimately led to the creation of Bull Oak Capital.

Whitepaper PDF on iPad


I started Bull Oak Capital in San Diego in March 2014. The firm was created to fill a much-needed void: better wealth management services to the mass affluent. I wanted to create a fiduciary investment advisory firm specializing in smarter money management and comprehensive financial planning.

Ready to take the next step?

Schedule a Complimentary 15-Minute Phone Call to Learn More