Today, finding a trusted professional who can help guide you towards your envisioned financial future is paramount. Meet Victoria Henning-Smejda, an esteemed professional dedicated to helping individuals transform their financial goals into reality through strategic financial planning.
With a keen focus on understanding her client’s unique financial objectives, Victoria works hand in hand with them to craft clear, actionable, and adaptable strategies. These personalized approaches not only connect her clients with the finest products and solutions available but also pave the way for achieving their long-term goals.
Victoria’s expertise spans a wide spectrum of financial disciplines, including wealth accumulation, portfolio management, tax-efficient investments, retirement income and distribution strategies, estate and charitable planning, asset protection, and education funding. Her comprehensive knowledge helps ensure that every aspect of her client’s financial well-being is carefully addressed.
As a testament to her unwavering commitment to ethical conduct and client service, Victoria proudly holds the esteemed title of a CFA® charterholder. Furthermore, she has achieved membership in the illustrious Million Dollar Round Table—an international and independent association that recognizes outstanding professional acumen in the life insurance and financial services arena.
Education is the bedrock of Victoria’s success, having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics, Economics, and Romance Languages from New York University. Specializing in Spanish and French, she is fluent in both languages and conversant in German, enabling her to connect with a diverse clientele on a global scale. Additionally, she has earned her Masters’s in Economics from the prestigious Graduate School at NYU.
Victoria’s dedication to remaining at the forefront of her field is evident through her continued commitment to professional growth. She maintains essential licenses, including Series 7 and Series 66, as well as Life and Health Insurance licenses, all of which equip her to provide comprehensive financial guidance.
From Novice to Credible Professional
Around 14 years ago, Victoria embarked on her career in the financial industry shortly after graduating from grad school. Her educational journey began at NYU, where she pursued her undergraduate and graduate studies as well. Joining the workforce right after college, she faced the challenge of lacking direct experience in the financial planning industry. While she was familiar with the concept of financial planning, she had yet to gain practical exposure.
One of her significant hurdles was establishing herself as a trustworthy and knowledgeable professional in a field where clients entrust their hard-earned money and savings to help them reach their financial goals. To overcome this, she decided to immerse herself as a student of the business, dedicating herself to gaining expertise and forming meaningful connections with people.
Victoria recognized the importance of obtaining credentials and sought to enhance her knowledge further. To solidify her expertise, she became a CFA charter holder, attaining insights not only from a technical perspective but also in practical financial planning and investment management. This not only enabled her to offer sound advice to her clients but also demonstrated her commitment to continuous learning and professionalism.
Ultimately, Victoria’s dedication to becoming a student of the industry and earning her CFA charter proved pivotal in surmounting the initial challenges she faced as a fresh graduate from a mostly theoretical program. By doing so, she demonstrated her credibility and commitment to her clients, instilling trust in their financial goals and aspirations.
At Azura Wealth Advisers, the team prides itself not only on the planning expertise of its partners and associates but also on being able to implement the financial plans within an open architecture framework. This means that it has the freedom to collaborate with various financial institutions and explore a broad spectrum of investment opportunities. Currently, its roster includes an impressive array of insurance carriers and fund families.
This extensive selection empowers the company to offer its clients an unparalleled range of investment options. Its diverse portfolio caters to individuals at different stages of their financial journey, whether they are young professionals just beginning their careers and wealth accumulation or seasoned individuals approaching retirement and distribution phases. Regardless of their specific circumstances, Azura Wealth Advisers is well-equipped with a plethora of choices from various companies and funds.
The open architecture approach Azura Wealth Advisers embraces helps ensure that its clients’ unique needs and goals are met effectively. The team does not feel confined by limited investment options, enabling it to provide tailored solutions for each individual or family it serves. With such a rich and diverse selection at its disposal, the team feels confident in guiding its clients towards building a robust financial future and securing their wealth for years to come.
Leading by Example
Victoria firmly believes that leading by example is of utmost importance in the wealth management industry. She understands that people want to see how their financial advisor manages their own money before trusting them with their own finances. Therefore, she practices what she preaches and implements all the age-appropriate strategies.
Victoria holds herself accountable for the advice and has a deep understanding of how these strategies work in real-life scenarios.
Navigating the Shift to Remote Client Interactions
Victoria acknowledges that the shift to virtual communication has significantly impacted how she interacts with clients at Azura Wealth Advisers. In the past, face-to-face meetings were the norm, with quarterly in-person interactions being the standard practice, even from the initial client meeting. However, this has changed drastically due to the circumstances.
The team at Azura Wealth Advisers has adapted to the new reality by leveraging technology, particularly Zoom, to maintain personal connections with their clients. While face-to-face meetings were once the primary mode of interaction, they now conduct meetings via Zoom or phone calls to ensure ongoing communication and connection with their clients.
Victoria emphasizes the importance of personal connections in the wealth management industry, and despite the shift to virtual meetings, she and her team strive to maintain that essential aspect of their service. They understand that staying connected and engaging with clients on a personal level is vital for building trust and understanding individual financial needs.
As the world begins to gradually return to in-person meetings, Victoria recognizes that some clients may prefer the convenience and flexibility of virtual interactions, especially those with busy schedules or who have relocated from the immediate city area. Hence, Azura Wealth Advisers remains flexible, offering both virtual and in-person options to accommodate their clients’ preferences.
Ultimately, whether it’s through Zoom or in-person meetings, Victoria and her team are committed to being available and ensuring that their clients receive the personalized attention and care necessary for effective wealth management.
Approach to Personal Growth and Team Engagement
Victoria’s upbringing in a household that emphasized wealth management and her educational background in economics laid a strong foundation for her career in the wealth planning and management industry. Immersing herself in this field, she continually sought to deepen her knowledge and understanding. One of the books that significantly influenced her mindset is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, which underscores the importance of a success-conscious state of mind and definiteness of purpose in achieving wealth and success.
Regarding creating and maintaining a positive work culture within her organization, Victoria takes several key steps to ensure her employees are engaged, motivated, and valued. Regular team meetings play a crucial role in fostering collaboration and keeping everyone connected.
These meetings provide a platform for sharing ideas, discussing successes and challenges, and collectively problem-solving, which helps to keep the team motivated and invested in their work.
Victoria also recognizes the significance of celebrating and sharing successes. Acknowledging and appreciating the contributions of each team member fosters a sense of value and reinforces the idea that everyone’s efforts are essential for the team’s overall success. By emphasizing the importance of teamwork and collaboration, Victoria ensures that each individual feels included and valued within the organization.
Victoria’s philosophy on giving back to the community is rooted in a positive and inclusive approach. Being in the wealth management industry, she recognizes the importance of addressing the needs of those who may not have as much wealth as her clients. Her commitment to giving back is evident through various initiatives aimed at empowering individuals from diverse backgrounds.
One of the ways Victoria and her team give back is by hosting seminars for first-generation college graduates and individuals from underprivileged communities. These seminars provide valuable insights into helping to create successful wealth accumulation strategies, offering knowledge and tools that can positively impact their financial futures.
While their niche market includes clients from big law firms, Victoria also values and assists clients who may be starting with modest savings, often just a couple of hundred dollars a month. She understands that with the right planning, tools, and education, individuals from all income levels have the potential to achieve financial success and security over time.
By recognizing the potential for wealth accumulation through consistent and informed financial planning, Victoria’s team encourages individuals to take charge of their financial future, regardless of their current financial situation. Leading with financial literacy, their dedication to giving back exemplifies a genuine commitment to creating a positive impact within their community and helping others achieve their financial goals.
Balancing Technology and Personalization
Victoria observes a significant change in the wealth management industry, with a growing trend towards robot-managed accounts or robo Advisers. While she acknowledges that robo Advisers can serve a role in a client’s overall portfolio, she emphasizes that they are not a complete replacement for human financial advisers.
Robo Advisers are primarily focused on asset management and investment management, using algorithms and data-driven approaches to allocate and manage investments. However, what they lack is the personal connection to individual clients’ goals, circumstances, and timeframes. Human financial Advisers bring a deeper understanding of their clients’ unique situations, allowing them to tailor advice and strategies that align with clients’ specific needs and aspirations. Further, in my experiences, when circumstances change the robo advisor doesn’t always respond so well.
Victoria stresses the importance of recognizing that financial planning encompasses more than just investment management. While some individuals may opt to outsource investment management to robo-Advisers, there are numerous other facets of financial planning that require personalized attention and expertise. Financial Advisers can provide a comprehensive view of a client’s overall financial situation, offering guidance on budgeting, retirement planning, tax strategies, estate planning, risk management, and more.
Eventually, Victoria believes that robo-Advisers can complement a broader financial planning strategy but should not replace the invaluable insights and guidance that human Advisers bring. Having a financial advisor helps to ensure that clients receive holistic and tailored financial advice, taking into account their goals, circumstances, and life aspirations beyond just managing investments.
Keys to Success in Wealth Management
Victoria’s advice to leaders and entrepreneurs centers around developing qualities that are essential for success in the wealth management industry:
- Thick Skin: In the world of wealth management, rejection and setbacks are a part of the game. It’s important to have a thick skin and not take rejection personally. Understanding that people have their reasons for making decisions, and it doesn’t reflect on one’s worth or abilities, is crucial in maintaining resilience and moving forward.
- Perseverance: Building a successful practice requires perseverance. In the beginning, there may be more “no’s” than “yes’s,” but staying committed to the journey and continuously learning and growing are key to achieving long-term success.
- Continuous Learning: Being a student of the business is vital. The wealth management industry is ever-changing, and staying informed about new developments, trends, and strategies is essential to providing the best advice and service to clients.
- Providing Value: Recognizing the impact of one’s work and the value it brings to clients is crucial. Helping clients navigate their financial journey and positively impacting their financial trajectories can significantly shape their future and financial well-being.
- Client-Centric Approach: Understanding that wealth management is about serving clients’ needs and goals. Taking the time to listen, empathize, and provide personalized solutions ensures clients feel valued and respected.
- Long-term Perspective: Realizing that the advice and planning provided today can have far-reaching consequences for clients’ financial futures. Being able to envision the long-term outcomes of financial decisions and investments is vital for successful wealth management.
- Adaptability: The financial landscape is dynamic and ever-changing. Being open to new ideas, staying adaptable, and embracing innovation are key to thriving in a constantly evolving industry.
By embodying these qualities and maintaining a client-centric focus, leaders and entrepreneurs can build thriving wealth management practices that make a positive and lasting impact on their clients’ financial lives.
Thriving in a Dynamic Landscape
Victoria highlights Azura Wealth Advisers’ strategy to maintain competitiveness in the ever-evolving wealth management landscape. The key focus is on continuous growth and learning. Recognizing that the industry is subject to constant change, the team at Azura believes in staying up-to-date with the latest developments, trends, and strategies through ongoing education.
A pivotal aspect of the company’s growth strategy involves expanding the team with professionals who bring diverse expertise and knowledge. This enables Azura Wealth Advisers to offer a wider range of services and solutions to meet its clients’ unique financial needs.
Obtaining additional designations and certifications is another way the team aims to enhance their qualifications and credibility. These designations demonstrate their commitment to professional development.
Central to their growth strategy is a strong client-centric approach. By prioritizing helping people and delivering value to their clients, they create a positive experience that leads to word-of-mouth referrals. Satisfied clients become advocates and recommend Azura Wealth Advisers to their friends, family, and loved ones, thereby naturally driving business growth.
This article is educational and is not advice or a recommendation for any specific investment product, strategy, or service. The views and opinions expressed are those of Victoria Henning-Smejda only. Investing involves risks, and past performance is not indicative of future results. Victoria Henning-smejda is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. [link to www.SIPC.org on electronic advertisements] Azura Wealth Advisers is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. 420 Lexington Avenue, 25th floor, Suite 2510, New York, NY 10170. CA Insurance License No.#0J05356. CRN202610-5181242
Victoria Henning-Smejda is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. www.SIPC.org. Azura Wealth Advisers is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. 420 Lexington Avenue, 25th Floor, Suite 2510, New York, NY 10170. CA Insurance License No. # 0J05356. CRN202610-5181242