‘For the next generation of women entering the industry, the advice is as simple as it gets: Obtain as much knowledge as possible and never stop learning’
As head of client services, Tracy Cochran is part of a team of business line leaders that handle Bci Securities’ domestic as well as offshore broker-dealer and RIA businesses. Cochran is responsible for the day-to-day client experience at Bci Securities that her team manages and is in charge of opening the lines of communication between clients, customers and businesses to get projects done.
One of the most recent projects she has implemented is Bci’s managed account model platform which caters to the group’s offshore clients. Along with her team, she selects strategies to add to the open architecture platform, which are then included in one of the four model portfolios on offer to clients. Her team carries out the required due diligence, testing strategic implementation and running the investment strategy of the model portfolios.
Cochran has spent more than 33 years in the financial industry, having gained a wealth of experience across all aspects of the banking, broker-dealer and the RIA worlds, both on the domestic and international side. She joined Bci Securities in 2018 following its acquisition of Miami-based TotalBank, where she had been working for almost 20 years. While at TotalBank, she held the role of director of banking centers and more recently that of manager for strategic retail initiatives.
‘There are so many female role models, but one that inspired me early on to become the person that I am today, is Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. I realized that if she was able to achieve what she did in the 1930’s, there really should be no boundaries for any woman. As her quote says: “the woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune”.
‘The second is my mother, who showed me the importance of knowledge, and the necessity of strength, determination and independence.’
‘Women have proven that they are amazing assets in the US offshore and wealth management Industry. To encourage more women to look to this profession, women that are currently in the field need to create some form of ongoing mentorship. This will provide a contact base and foundation to be able to guide them, show them what opportunities exist, what would be the best fit and how to take advantage of them.’
‘It’s obvious that right now there are more men than women in this industry but there’s a lot of potential for women in this space’
Daniela Fortuna is the head of all commercial operations for the International Personal and Private Bank of Brazil’s Itaú in Miami. This includes being in charge of the company’s international private bankers, its commercial strategy, target markets, revenue model and commercial marketing initiatives, as well as client centricity and acquisition. Her main focus is creating and developing projects and customizing products and solutions for offshore clients.
Based in Miami, Fortuna oversees a team of 30 people and the firm’s international private bankers who cater to Brazilian and Hispanic clients. She is also in charge of the group’s sales teams that are located in Miami, Zurich, Lisbon and Latin America.
With over 20 years in the financial market, Fortuna has spent the last 12 years of her career at Itaú Private Bank. Before coming to Miami, she served as a private banker in Rio de Janeiro and contributed significantly to the growth of Itaú Private Bank’s operations in the region. Prior to joining Itaú in 2008, Fortuna worked at Banco do Brasil where she was a private banker for eight years.
‘A point in my career that I’m really proud of would be when I was a private banker back in Brazil, right before coming to Miami. I had the biggest client book [in AUM] in Brazil, not just Rio de Janeiro. Not only was this great for me professionally and within the bank, but I really knew and understood my clients. This was when I was asked to come to Miami and prioritize client-centric initiatives and make our structure work 100% for the client.’
‘A barrier that I have faced, and I know other women have as well, is proving new ideas. You know the idea is good and works, but you have to prove and implement it before getting people on board. This is difficult because you’re often doing it alone and with little help. This is where having a good mindset can change things. I look at the cycle of learning (learn, unlearn, relearn) and try to promote this regularly. It pushes people beyond their comfort zone and encourages an environment that reaches for new ideas. So I try to lead by example. I go ahead, create the space for this idea, and prove it works for our clients.’
‘The constant need to prove that I was “ready” for my next assignment or career opportunity has been a barrier I have regularly encountered as a woman’
Sonia Garcia-Romero is responsible for a team of investment specialists that work across a number of Citi Private Bank’s US and Latin American offices, as well as Switzerland, that offer investment services to the group’s US offshore and Latin American ultra-high net worth clients. In this role she builds tailored investment portfolios to cover the needs of Citi clients across multiple generations.
Garcia-Romero has more than 25 years’ experience in the financial industry. She started her career at JP Morgan where she was an institutional trader in the London office with the firm’s investment bank and global markets treasury liquidity and repo desks from 1995 until 2000. She was also the head of the JP Morgan Latin America global investment opportunities group.
She then moved to Deutsche Bank where she spent three years as a structured derivatives specialist within its Latin American private wealth management arm. She returned to JP Morgan in 2003 and joined its Latin America Private Bank where she served as the market manager and investments team leader for the Andes, Central America and Caribbean region. In late 2016 she moved to Citi Private Bank to take on her current role.
‘After 2008 I was asked to create a Latin America global investment opportunities desk to cover the most asset class agnostic and self-directed clients that were willing to invest in a dislocated global financial market. As it happened, this start-up was perfectly timed for the opportunity size and the moment and we grew to $14bn in assets and $60m revenue the following three consecutive years. We had a team of 10 specialists covering all Latin American countries and an amazing flow of business. It was a great challenge at the right time.’
‘I love to see our young talent being so vocal in sharing their opinions. It is refreshing and instructive to spend time with them. However, one thing that women don’t do enough of is take risks. When a new opportunity that you dream of opens up, raise your hand and go for it. Do not wait to be 100% “ready”. That 100% probably doesn’t exist in reality.’
‘Women within the industry should feel compelled to reach out to the next generation, providing mentorship and the confidence that this is an industry in which they can grow and succeed’
Susan Graybeal joined Sanctuary Wealth this summer to lead the team building the group’s wealth management and product platform aimed at independent international advisors.
As director of international wealth management, she will oversee Sanctuary’s new offshore platform and look to onboard around two to three teams of international advisors by the end of the first quarter next year, with a focus on advisors with ultra-high net worth clients in Mexico.
Her responsibilities also include providing partnered support to international wealth advisors who wish to manage their own practice on Sanctuary Wealth’s platform.
Graybeal is an experienced hand, having started her career with Merrill Lynch in 1985 working directly with management in an office comprising advisors assisting both domestic and international clients.
In 1994, still at Merrill Lynch, she became client relationship manager and in 2008, she assumed the role of international supervision manager where she worked directly with advisors to assist in providing solutions, compliance and relationship building for their international clients. She held this role until she left Merrill Lynch to join Sanctuary Wealth in August 2020.
‘To be honest, it would be my current position as the director of international wealth management at Sanctuary Wealth. This exciting new role gives me the opportunity to support our network of financial professionals and advisors in an industry that I am truly passionate about.’
‘Michelle Obama is unapologetically genuine. Her positive attitude, family-first priorities, ambition for success and commitment to honoring her self-worth is beyond inspiring. She encourages freedom of choice, advocates valuing people, promotes the importance of empowering others, and teaches women that failure is a part of growth. She is extraordinary.’
‘I am a leader by example who cares about people and puts them first. I believe this is a strength, when some in the industry consider it a weakness. I lead with a culture of communication and listening, and provide my team with guidance and respect.’
‘Surround yourself with very smart, hard-working people full of integrity and, most importantly, that you like’
As branch manager for Investment Placement Group’s (IPG) Miami office, Rocio Harb’s main responsibilities are to support the team, whether it be with sales, compliance, operations or guidance. She also supervises the group’s financial advisors and sales associates/assistants teams. As director, she has been charged with helping IPG expand in size, assets, products and new ideas. She works closely with her firm’s team in its San Diego headquarters.
Harb started her financial career in 1992 working for the managing director of Tucker Anthony in New York City. Shortly after, she relocated to Miami and joined Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) where she worked for eight years until the group was bought by Credit Suisse. The executive team of DLJ then joined Dominick & Dominick in 2004 and Harb was appointed to run the group’s operations department and assist in opening the Miami office before later being named branch manager. In 2015 Wunderlich Securities purchased Dominick & Dominick and Harb continued in her role until 2016 when she moved to IPG to spearhead the opening of its office in Miami.
‘This is a wonderful and rewarding profession. I believe that showing a united front to the women who would like to join the industry is essential. It is important to advise, mentor and support them. We need to listen and understand their concerns. We need to share our stories, our challenges and our achievements. We need to be willing to divulge our knowledge and our experiences so that they can learn from them and excel. It has been said that women make excellent financial advisors because of their very many attributes: patience, attentiveness, traditionalism, honesty and loyalty – to name but a few. We need to keep reminding them how successful they can be.’
‘It is such a great feeling when you start a new firm and have your team join you. First and foremost, the ability to hand-pick my team is a dream. My career high point was having my team show their loyalty and dedication to move alongside me in this new venture. The extra perks were picking the location, setting up an office, and furnishing it, which – I can’t lie was – a lot of fun.’
‘I have been very lucky throughout my career to work for institutions that value women to the highest degree’
Maria Hernandez is responsible for managing strategic partner relationships for BBVA’s international broker-dealer and insurance agency, and conducting analysis to build business cases for potential new products and services. She also serves as the primary liaison between strategic partners and the sales, operations, and legal and compliance groups for product-related projects.
After graduating from Mexico’s Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila with a degree in accounting, Hernandez started her 20-year career as a financial services officer at Laredo National Bank. When the bank became BBVA Compass, she then served two years as a senior preferred relationship manager promoting banking product sales by profiling clients’ financial needs with an emphasis on loans, investments and deposit product sales. She then spent the better part of a decade in various roles in compliance before returning to BBVA, and has spent the last five years in her current role.
‘One of the highlights of my career has been the opportunity to integrate various product solutions, training, and communications for our international financial consultants with the help of their leadership. This allows me to provide specialized expertise to meet clients’ needs. BBVA USA’s mission is to create opportunities for everyone, and that includes its own employees. It has been an immense pleasure to work at the bank, doing what I love.’
‘Live by the golden rule: Treat people with respect, be honest, never forget where you came from or the people that helped you get there. Your roots are part of who you are today and how successful you may become.
In addition, I would say education is key for any profession, so go to school and prepare your mind. I’ve always remembered what someone once told me early in my career: There is no such thing as a free lunch in America. You have to work hard for what you want in life. Have short-term and long-term goals and you will succeed.’
‘After a long career in the wealth management industry, I, along with my co-founders Michael Zeuner and Santiago Ulloa, founded the kind of company we had always wanted to create. I wouldn’t do anything differently and I love what I do’
As CEO of WE Family Offices, Maria Elena Lagomasino helps US offshore and Latin American families build their wealth enterprises. This involves helping them rethink how they see their family wealth and how to manage it, in the same way as they would with any successful business venture. In addition to working with families, she provides strategic direction for WE as a company.
Before founding WE in 2012, Lagomasino served as CEO of GenSpring Family Offices, a wealth management firm. Her career in banking began in 1977 at Citibank. She then joined Chase Manhattan Private Bank in 1983 and was named head of its worldwide private banking business in 1997. Following the Chase/JP Morgan merger, she became chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Private Bank. She currently serves on the boards of Walt Disney and Coca-Cola. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
‘I think recent events with Covid-19 have really changed the way we look at work/life balance. One of the biggest problems in the financial industry for women is a general lack of flexibility when it comes to working at home, job sharing and other solutions to make it possible to have a career and raise a family or act as a carer. That rigidity has led to an absence of women in wealth management, and ultimately, that is a disservice to clients and the industry as a whole.
‘In a post-Covid work culture, the financial industry’s leadership will have to look at flexible work options that have proven productive. Long term, I think these kinds of changes will lead to a happier, more diverse workforce, which will promote better client service and loyal team members.’
‘My advice to the next generation of wealth advisors is do what you love, and love what you do. If you’re going into wealth management, you have to understand that your clients come first. You’ll have to work long hours and become personally committed, so you’ll need to love it to do it well.’
‘This is a fast-growing, very exciting industry to be in. There are now far more opportunities to progress than when I started my career’
Glorinete Laurentino is a director at BNY Mellon’s Pershing where she oversees business development and relationship management for the firm’s international global client relationships team. She is responsible for driving client strategy and growth in Latin America for some of Pershing’s largest US offshore independent broker-dealer clients.
Laurentino works with leaders and experts across the BNY Mellon organization to help develop enterprise strategy, conduct market risk analysis and bring clients deeper insights on the nuances of doing business in Latin America. She also regularly interfaces with regulatory bodies in the region to stay ahead of any changes impacting the firm’s US offshore clients.
Laurentino has almost 20 years’ experience working with Pershing clients across many markets, with a particular focus on Latin America. She started her career with The Bank of New York in 1998 and moved to Pershing after it was acquired by BNY Mellon in 2003.
She holds a master’s in risk management from Saint Peter’s University and a degree in business from Lehman College. She is currently pursuing a second master’s in industrial and organizational psychology. She speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish.
‘Transitioning to the client relationship management role was a key turning point in my career.
‘As an account manager, I loved my job and had already built strong relationships with clients. I was also on a rotation program, covering different countries across Latin America and building important connections in those markets. I knew that these skills and relationships would prove invaluable in a relationship management role - and they definitely did.
‘Since being appointed to this position, I have expanded my responsibilities to include business development and an ever-growing list of fantastic clients.’
‘I think one of the most important ways we can attract more women into our industry is by reaching out and educating them about our profession and the need for their talent. To that end, educational programs and internships are highly effective in bringing new blood into the profession.
‘In fact, Pershing has various initiatives in place dedicated to introducing financial literacy to young students. We also offer global internships for high school and college students. Many of my colleagues have remained with Pershing after their internships, which speaks volumes about the importance of these programs for students interested in entering the US offshore space.’
As women in the industry, it is our duty to network and mentor the next generation of female investment professionals’
Danielle LeClair is a senior member of Franklin Templeton’s manager research team. She conducts due diligence on active Canadian equity, Canadian fixed income, European equity and global equity funds across the asset manager’s third-party product platform. She also co-leads the development and integration of the firm’s ESG philosophy and process across her multi-asset solutions suite of products globally.
LeClair has almost 10 years’ experience as a manager researcher and investment analyst. She started her career working as an administrative assistant for two financial advisors. Having always been curious about international economics, due studiing international relations at college, she applied for a job at Franklin Templeton and joined the firm’s high net worth division in 2011 conducting research and client service in the Calgary office. Three years later, she moved to Toronto and joined the group’s multi-asset solutions team. LeClair has held several roles at the group including portfolio analysis, trade input and macroeconomic analysis, but has been mainly focused on manager research.
‘I have always been passionate about sustainability and sustainable investing. A high point for me has been co-creating the ESG philosophy and processes for our manager research team and multi-asset group more broadly. We have now integrated these processes and have adopted the slogan “ESG Everyday” in how we create solutions for our clients.’
‘In many ways, I was the most significant barrier to my career. Early on, I struggled to feel like I belonged in a male-dominated industry where everyone seemed so much more confident and knowledgeable than I felt. I was constantly second-guessing myself, and on more than one occasion contemplated a career change. It was when I realized that the asset management industry is a melting pot of ideas and schools of thought that I found my confidence.
‘Working in a highly collaborative team also contributed to that by giving me a platform to grow and learn by sharing my perspective and hearing from those that approach things differently from me. The open forum allowed me to see how valuable my contributions are.’
‘During the Covid-19 crisis, our clients, particularly offshore ones, were panicked and nervous’
Joana Li is responsible for the positioning and delivery of investment solutions to offshore clients and prospects of HSBC Private Bank, mainly for the group’s US/Asia corridor team. This role also involves establishing, growing and managing investment relationships for HSBC’s international and domestic ultra-high net worth clients and providing them with wealth planning, trust and estate services, and cross-market opportunities. Li works with relationship managers and the investment strategy and product service group to develop and execute investment strategies across markets, asset classes, currencies and jurisdictions.
Li has over 20 years’ experience in global investment management across markets, industries and asset classes, mainly in the US and Asia. Her extensive knowledge of Asian culture and strong investment skills have led her to work with global ultra-high net worth Asian clients and families from Hong Kong and China.
Prior to HSBC, she was a senior investment analyst within Citi Private Bank’s global investment lab unit, where she was responsible for delivering comprehensive, analytical and highly customized strategies for ultra-high net worth clients, including family offices and foundations.
‘The increasing legal risks in regulation and compliance for the US offshore and wealth management industry, from onboarding to servicing, present a major challenge for our business. Wealthy individuals and families are interested in diversifying their exposure, and will come to US private banks to help them achieve this. These clients are frequently domiciled in different jurisdictions from those where their private bank is based. This exposes private banks involved in providing cross-border services to complex regulations, where they must ensure compliance both with the regulations and laws where they are based, and with the rules that apply to the country where their client is domiciled.’
‘Women own and control greater wealth than ever before, and are also changing the direction of wealth management and the goals of wealth creation. This creates a perfect opportunity for women to enter the wealth management business. Women should start making wealth management a career when they enter college so they can start building an extensive network. Receiving education in business helps to build a solid foundation for their future career.
‘The financial services industry is constantly innovating. Offshore businesses are always responding to changing client needs and regulatory requirements. So make sure you are ready to embrace the rapid changes and be ready to adapt.’
‘Women’s ability to build long-term relationships and, in many cases, their passion for helping others, is well-suited to our industry’
As well as being co-head of international wealth management, Ileana Musa is also the head of global banking and lending within Morgan Stanley’s international unit. Her roles cut across the firm’s broker-dealer and bank to cater for both sides of a global family’s balance sheet. Musa co-leads strategic decisions for Morgan Stanley’s international business across numerous areas, including risk and operations, business development and advisor development. Her role is to support her firm’s advisors and make it easier for clients to tap Morgan Stanley’s capabilities and solutions through every phase of the family’s legacy.
Originally from Cuba and raised in Miami, Musa joined Morgan Stanley in October 2017 as head of international banking and lending for international wealth management. In March 2019, she was named co-head of international wealth management, alongside fellow co-head Greg Gatesman.
Throughout her career she has worked at a number of renowned financial institutions, including JP Morgan, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, she served at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management for more than three years as global client segment and strategy executive.
She sits on numerous national boards, including Girl Scouts of America, where she strives to mentor and sponsor young Latinas.
‘Landing my first job in international private wealth with Bank Boston after relocating from Miami to New York. After speaking with many recruiters, I managed to secure an interview with the head of the Southern Cone at Bank Boston. I borrowed a royal blue suit from a friend and ended up having to run across town because I was on the East Side when the interview was on the West Side (and yes, I couldn’t afford to pay for a cab that was in bumper-to-bumper traffic). I had no prior experience in international private wealth, but I shared my personal story and asked for the job. That was my first break, and I worked directly for the head of the business, which jump-started my learning.’
‘Working closely with families across different cultures, time zones and generations is incredibly rewarding, and the roles can give women the flexibility to balance work/life demands. Embrace positions of power early in your career as those roles will enable you to flourish, be empowered, and in turn, allow you to empower others. Use your influence every step of the way to drive positive change and remember that success knows no limits. There is enough room at the top for all of us.’
‘Over the course of my career, I vetoed the distribution of a number of funds, which ultimately were exposed as fraudulent’
Eliza Pepper joined UBS in June 2020 to lead the firm’s wealth planning and investment advisory activities for the Latin American region. Prior to this, she worked at Brazilian firm XP Advisory where she was its US-based CIO and was in charge of XP’s offshore manager research teams.
Her role at UBS involves working closely with the office of the CIO to provide portfolio construction and investment solutions across the globe. The Latin America investment and wealth planning teams are based in the US, Europe, Mexico and Brazil.
A native of Brazil, Pepper has more than 30 years’ experience developing investment programs for individual and institutional investors. She started her career at Chase Manhattan Bank, providing investment advice to pension funds, endowments and foundations. After Chase, Pepper held senior positions at CTC Consulting, Citigroup Private Bank, UBS, Itaú USA and XP Advisory. More recently, she was the CIO of XP Advisory USA and has now rejoined UBS’s wealth management division as head of investment advisory and wealth planning for Latin America.
‘Not playing poker or being a sports fan has kept me out of some natural bonding, which helped advance the career of some of my male colleagues. I always believed that knowledge and hard work would be the best way to gain recognition and advancement, but on a few occasions that was not the case. Fortunately, this situation is not prevalent in organizations that welcome a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, companies have evolved. There is now greater gender awareness and acceptance.’
‘The wealth management industry is broad and allows for many career paths. It is constantly evolving and there are many challenges that make the daily routine more interesting rather than repetitious. There are plenty of fields to choose from, including specialties in investments, wealth planning, communications, finance, risk and sales. These areas can be global or specific to a geographic region. To be good at it, you should attempt to learn something new every day – that’s what makes it interesting and rewarding.’
‘I would encourage women starting in the industry to join a large firm, which provides greater training as well as more varied opportunities’
Nancy Peterson carries out research and due diligence on offshore mutual funds. She develops diversified model portfolios every January and subsequently carries out reviews throughout the year to ensure her client portfolios are aligned with the model. She fully reviews the mutual funds with her team when the model is adjusted in order to ensure that only top-performing strategies are included. Additionally, she develops new clientele and counsels existing clients on other financial topics, such as credit, banking, cash flow, real estate strategies and estate planning.
Peterson’s first job was in corporate treasury at Xerox in Mexico City. After six years in Mexico, she moved to Miami and joined Merrill Lynch’s wealth management team. Subsequently, she moved to Barnett Bank to manage the firm’s brokerage department, and then onto Northern Trust as a portfolio manager. She has also worked as a private client advisor at Bank of America, Lehman Brothers, and Citibank. Her biggest career change in recent years was when she moved to Bolton Global Capital, where she manages her own business and team within the group’s independent advisor network.
‘Angela Merkel. She transmits an aura of calm, and is capable and ethical in a strong, quiet way. Despite disadvantages, she has been chancellor of Germany for 15 years. Yet, as a young aspirational politician, she had nearly everything going against her: female, divorced, nerdy scientist, non-influential family, and worst of all East German.
‘Merkel has held her own among the most powerful men in the world and achieved outstanding economic growth and stability in a country that was challenged by the reunification of two diverse halves. Her success shows me that goals can be achieved through talent and persistence, and that power doesn’t have to be loud.’
‘The single greatest barrier has been male prejudice. On many occasions throughout my career, opportunities have been limited because of managers’ predisposition against women. Here’s a simple example: When an advisor leaves a company, their accounts are distributed among brokers at the office. When an advisor with Mexican clients left a previous company I worked at (Mexico was my bailiwick), I was not assigned any clients. When I asked the manager why, he said he didn’t think Mexican clients would want to deal with me because I was a woman, despite the fact I am fully fluent in Spanish and an expert on Mexico. That story has repeated itself in different permutations throughout my career.’
‘As an economist and with a particular interest in development economics, I have always looked up to Nobel prize winner Esther Duflo and all the work and research she has conducted on tackling poverty’
As a senior portfolio and research analyst for Miami-based family office BigSur Partners, Rosa Rincón helps select investment products and strategies for her group’s client portfolios and assists in client and prospect relationships for all of BigSur’s advisors. In addition, she manages and oversees alternative investments, which make up 30% of the group’s book of business. Rincón also leads the research and due diligence on these products for BigSur’s investment committee.
Rincón didn’t start her career in wealth management and her first role was with British American Tobacco Mexico in 2013, supporting strategic planning and management of nationwide marketing assets. After moving to Miami and before joining BigSur in 2016, she worked at brokerage firm Invex where she focused on the development and execution of investment strategies for offshore clients.
Rincón has a degree in economics from Mexico’s Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and had the opportunity to complete her studies in economics abroad at Queen’s University in Canada and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
‘There are growing trends in wealth management that will make this field an increasingly interesting place for women to work. Women are becoming a stronger financial force, gaining seniority as business leaders and taking charge in next-generation transfers of wealth. As clients, women generally behave differently from men when it comes to financial decisions and having someone who “speaks the same language” will be essential for the industry.’
‘The best advice I can give is to always make sure you remain challenged and willing to learn. At the same time, surround yourself with people who have more experience and perhaps different roles to you. Gaining exposure to a variety of disciplines within the industry can add great value to your career.’
This pandemic has shown us that, yes, we can work from home, but it’s also demonstrated the value of human interaction
Janet Rodriguez has a wide-ranging role at EFG Asset Management. She is responsible for implementing the group’s investment strategy across various accounts using a number of mutual funds.
She works closely with her firm’s equity teams globally to implement and monitor equity fund performance and contributes to the team’s evaluation and selection of mutual funds for EFG’s multi-asset strategies. She also produces contribution and attribution reports, which monitor alpha from active fund managers.
As well as managing the operational logistics for constructing local asset allocation models, Rodriguez is also a key point of contact for compliance queries from her firm’s private bankers and clients.
Rodriguez has more than 10 years’ experience in the financial industry, working in capital markets and financial services. Prior to her current role, she performed suitability analysis as a compliance associate.
Before joining EFG, she began her career on the equities and derivatives trading desk at Bulltick Capital Markets which shaped her proficiency in multi-tasking while working under pressure. She holds a degree from the University of Miami where she pursued a major in finance and operations research along with a minor in mathematics. She is a CFA charterholder and a member of both the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Miami.
‘Women need to be more engaged in their local financial industry because it is a small world. If you work hard and care about the results, others will take notice. Yes, 2020 has been a challenging year but it is not permanent. We also need to view the current environment in a positive manner. It is teaching every one of us to overcome adversity. Even if we are working from home, we need to push ourselves, because we are our own benchmark.’
‘The two that immediately stick out are overwork and underachievement. If we do not draw boundaries we can burn out. I believe many can relate to this as we initially worked long hours in transitioning to working from home when the pandemic began. We need to be able to draw boundaries and have a healthy balance. If we do not delegate and use our network, we will never grow. Which brings me to my second barrier: growing past the skills I have already mastered. I am results-oriented which means I need to break through plateaus and the only way to do this is by continuously setting goals.’
‘My mother is my biggest inspiration. She is an entrepreneur who was able to build her business in Nicaragua in the 1990s after the country was recovering from a revolution’
Karla Sandino is a senior member of Banco Sabadell’s discretionary team and is also part of the bank’s fund selection team. She is responsible for the daily management of two Luxembourg-based Sicav funds and two discretionary equity investment strategies. In addition, she co-manages another 10 strategies across the risk spectrum that serve all of the firm’s discretionary clients.
She is also a member of the firm’s investment committee that decides portfolio strategy and the recommendations made in the group’s proposals to clients.
With 12 years’ experience in the industry, Sandino has spent her entire career at Banco Sabadell. She joined the bank in 2008 as an analyst and after two years became a portfolio manager. She holds a degree in industrial management and engineering from Purdue University and is a member of the CFA Institute and a CFA charterholder.
‘Starting as a young woman in this industry was very challenging. I remember attending conferences and feeling intimidated. I learned that in order to succeed I had to prepare myself, be one step ahead and ask for help. Since I had little experience compared with my colleagues, I knew I needed to invest more in education and decided to prepare for the CFA. Luckily, I have been surrounded by people who have been willing to teach, challenge and support me along the way. Now, as a mother, I have to try and juggle my personal and professional life. With time and advice I have discovered there is no perfect balance, but not everything has to be perfect. Asking for help is acceptable.’
‘Companies should have sponsorship programs, and women in the industry should have a platform where we can share experience and ideas with each other. Early this year I attended a Women in Finance Summit by Franklin Templeton that was very inspiring and motivational. Listening to other women’s experiences, challenges and stories helped me realize we have similar obstacles which can be overcome. Listening to their advice and having a mentor or a sponsor is key. Also, I believe companies should promote diversity, and give us the tools and training to prepare ourselves better professionally.’
‘Get out of your comfort zone and learn something new’
Victoria Santaella conducts manager research for Miami-based wealth manager Intercam Advisors to help select ETFs and mutual funds for her group’s open architecture platform. Her group caters to international clients mainly from Latin America. She also maintains ongoing relationships with a wide range of different asset managers in order to be on top of the latest trends and investment alternatives. Her approach is to find the best-in-class investment vehicles.
In addition, Santaella and her team manage Intercam’s relationship with two independent research firms to set a recommended list of bonds and stocks that her group offers to clients. On an ongoing basis, Santaella and other members of her team review their risk levels and lead marketing initiatives with the company’s network in Mexico.
Santaella has over 20 years’ experience as an equity research and fund analyst, having worked in both New York and Miami.
Prior to joining Intercam Advisors in January 2019, she was head of Latin America equity research for Santander Investments in New York for almost 10 years. Earlier in her career she worked for private investment group VFinance Investments helping emerging companies secure funding. She was also an equity analyst for GBM, one of Mexico’s largest broker-dealers, in the early 1990s.
‘There are a few that spring to mind. I’ve participated in the privatization and IPOs of several steel and mining companies in Latin America by providing valuations that were then used as a guideline for establishing the pricing of numerous transactions.
‘There have also been times when my metal price forecasts have been used by world-leading financial institutions, including mutual funds, pension managers and banks, as a guideline in multiple transactions.’
‘We can encourage women to join our industry by hiring and promoting more of them to key positions. In addition, we need men to share responsibilities at home, allowing women to take on more professional tasks. We also need to stop men’s sexist comments in the workplace, which make women feel very uncomfortable – even the offhand ones that are meant to be “funny”. Women should speak up when this happens.’
‘There has never been a better time to enter the industry. One can make a career of research, or use it as a launching pad to so many things’
Jennifer Solimine leads a global team of experienced due diligence professionals across New York, London and São Paulo who determine which strategies are available on the firm’s investment platform. The team searches for managers who have a sustainable competitive advantage, using a highly selective process that combines quantitative analysis with qualitative research. The result is a diverse, best-in-class platform that spans multiple asset classes, including equity, fixed income, multi-asset, beta and systematic.
Solimine was named global head of manager solutions in June 2020 and has spent more than two decades at JP Morgan in various senior roles, most recently as the global head of fiduciary risk and the US private bank chief risk officer. Prior to that, she served as head of investments for the private bank’s Greenwich, Connecticut market, where she oversaw both the investments business and investment professionals in the market. Before joining JP Morgan in 1999, Solimine was a core equity portfolio manager at Nomura Asset Management, and also worked at Neuberger Berman in both research and marketing. She lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband and three children.
‘A few years ago, I walked into an elevator and congratulated a colleague, with whom I didn’t work directly, who had recently become a managing director. He thanked me, and then commented that he would never forget the time years ago when he was an associate and I stood up for him in front a very senior professional at the firm. He said that even though I wasn’t senior myself at the time, I quickly jumped to defend him.
‘While I don’t remember the incident, I often recall the interaction in the elevator. As I’ve become more senior it has become increasingly important to me professionally and personally to see those around me succeed.’
‘Learning to find my voice, step up and drive my own outcomes. It took me years to realize how much finding the next opportunity depended on simply asking for those chances.
‘I often found myself wanting to do something else – but inadvertently boxed myself into a very narrow set of jobs that were incremental to the role I currently held. Career opportunities are like upside-down funnels – and there are fewer openings at the top, so you have to think broadly.’
‘First-hand information is very important in this industry and is likely to affect your investment decisions’
Xinyi ‘Cindy’ Wang’s primary responsibility is delivering market insight and analysis, and providing asset allocation suggestions. She is responsible for macroeconomic analysis of global markets and setting investment theme guidelines.
Wang leads a team of researchers and analysts who carry out due diligence on a variety of products including mutual funds, option strategies and ETFs. She also conducts bond and equity analysis.
Wang joined Griffinest Asia Securities in 2013 as a research analyst and was later promoted to a senior level and put in charge of the firm’s research team. Prior to joining Griffinest, she worked as a data analyst at UCLA Medical Center, where she gained experience dealing with data and the healthcare industry.
She graduated from the Central University of Finance and Economics in China with a degree in economics and a degree in mathematics. She was then awarded a master’s in mathematical finance from the University of Southern California. She is a CFA charterholder.
‘Years ago when I started to provide the global outlook at the end of the year for the first time, I summarized my conclusion and investment recommendations in a world map. This was a big breakthrough for the Taiwan and Hong Kong market. Our senior sales team, who have more than 40 years’ experience, said they had never seen such a comprehensive but concise example. I received recognition and appreciation from both sales and clients. This service attracted more clients into our company and our AUM has doubled since then.
‘When our business expands, my capabilities grow with it and I have taught myself to analyze bonds and preferred stocks. When offshore clients are concerned about withholding taxes from the IRS, I need to address their tax issues and I can now cover all the products offered on our platform. Nowadays, whenever our sales team runs into a problem, they will ask me for help, and trust my response.’
‘The most significant one is gaining trust from sales and clients. I face multiple questions and challenges from sales every day, some of whom might have been in this industry much longer than me. At first they questioned my insight and investment advice. But backed by in-depth economic analysis and historical comparisons, I am confident in my work and that time will demonstrate my views are justified.’
‘As a woman and mother, I recognize the barriers women face in many societies when it is considered that we cannot achieve certain goals or don’t have the capacity to lead’
Carolina Yepes is responsible for handling accounts for high net worth clients, mainly Colombian soccer players, at Ultralat Capital Markets, a broker-dealer based in Miami. She also develops and executes initiatives aimed at winning new investment mandates for clients. In addition, Yepes structures and builds investment strategies, delivers regular sales presentations, and responds to inquiries from existing and prospective clients.
Yepes has 16 years’ experience working across Colombian and US capital markets. She has collaborated with clients’ lawyers, accountants and tax advisors around the world to design the most appropriate structure for developing business. She has also participated in negotiations with soccer clubs in order to explain the importance of preparing for the future and how to facilitate that.
She holds a master’s in finance from EAFIT University in Colombia.
‘You have to differentiate yourself from the rest. I was able to accomplish that by offering my clients an integral service but also by treating each one, not as a number, but as a long-term relationship. I am now recognized as a leading financial advisor in Colombia’s sports industry. To know that my name is mentioned in many countries where the players work, where they refer to me as a loyal professional that can contribute to structuring their lasting net worth, makes me feel the sacrifices I made have paid off.’
‘I have always identified the US as a country of opportunities. In the financial industry, which is skewed towards male recruitment, such openings can be more difficult to find. Wealth management is a highly competitive field, but women can contribute talent and skill, and promote the arrival of more empowered women. I want to encourage women in finance to respect and help each other through what can be a complex environment. Corporations that commit to closing the gap of explicit and subtle discrimination, should be able to improve salary and professional conditions.’