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Libby is a Principal in the San Francisco office. She has more than twenty years of experience in financial services, advising clients on a variety of financial planning and wealth management issues, with a focus on cross-border planning. Her specialized knowledge, combined with her personal experience living abroad, enables Libby to evaluate bespoke, personalized options that help clients maximize the joys of a cross-border lifestyle.
Prior to joining Cerity Partners, Libby was a Wealth Advisor with Worldview Wealth Advisors, providing holistic savings, investment, insurance, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning advice to clients whose lives were complicated by cross-border situations. Her earlier experience was across a range of client-serving roles, specifically in asset management. She was President of an investment firm focusing on small-cap investing for high-net-worth individuals and served as a Senior Vice President for Putnam Investments, working with defined contribution plans.
Who inspired you to pursue your career in financial management?
My mother was the one who jumpstarted my career. When I was in middle school and living in Malaysia, my class did a career aptitude test, and my results said that I should become a bank teller. My mother was aghast and said, "forget that; you'll work for the World Bank!" I never did work for the World Bank, but that planted a seed that I could have a career in international finance.
Was there a specific incident in your life that made it clear you were made for this career?
Going through the tax returns that Ernst & Young prepared for us while we were living in Switzerland and realizing that they were just people too and made mistakes. Everyone can benefit from specialized knowledge and a financial partner.
Why is your work important, especially today?
The world of successful families is a global one and the world only feels like it is getting smaller. More and more people need help navigating new financial systems and untangling the complicated tax and regulatory world we live in. Every cross-border personal situation is unique.
What should your clients know the most about you?
I really care about my clients, and I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night noodling over an issue. Some of my best work is early in the morning when my nocturnal ruminations bring clarity first thing in the morning.
What kind of clients work best for you?
Two kinds: 1). The very complicated. I love figuring things out and bringing focus to what can feel like a lot of noise. 2). Successful professionals moving to a new country for the first time. There is joy in educating people about their new financial situation and helping set them up for success.
What do you do in your personal life that helps you help your clients?
I am fortunate that I have walked a mile in my clients' shoes. Most of my clients are expats, living in a new country and having to learn and adapt to a new way of life. I have done that myself several times and have experienced the highs - and the lows - that that lifestyle brings! Learning from my own mistakes helps me counsel and reassure my clients and be a better advisor.
How would you describe your best day doing what you do?
My best day is when I am very busy with extremely different client issues. I love learning new things and chatting with colleagues - both internal and external - about strategies that can help a client.
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