Financial planning is like rock climbing – no two routes are the same

If you ask Ito what her client base and assets under management (AUM) numbers are, she doesn’t have them at her fingertips because they aren’t her focus. But, when her staff provide the data – $1.861 billion in AUM and 435 client households – it’s obvious where her attention lies.

She likes building relationships with clients and then synthesizing the analytical information, so she can determine, and present, the right strategies for them. “I think it requires good listening skills and good relationship management skills,” she said, “and I care about my clients very deeply.”

She loves the fact no two days are the same and, like rock climbing, she often has to find different paths to reach her desired goal, particularly when factors, such as public assets, are outside the firm’s control. But, it also applies to the fact that each client needs a different solution, especially if acquiring or exiting a business, or dealing with a death, divorce, or intergenerational wealth transfer.

“Having the ability to customize that and create a solution is probably the most rewarding part of my job,” said Ito. “Having gone through the great recession of 2008 and the pandemic, no two Black Swan events are the same. So, do you have the infrastructure to adapt to those change? Do you have an arsenal of investment opportunities for your investment strategy? What types of opportunities are available in your suite of investment options that you can put in front of your clients? I think having a big toolkit is really important. That’s the same on the planning side. Having a very collaborative team allows us to look at something like the federal budget that was just released and know what impact it will have on our clients.”

While she’s set aside most of her rock-climbing while raising a family, Ito loves to travel – but takes the most enjoyment from what she can create for her clients.

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