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Q&A with Autumn Azar, Dakota Wealth Management

We sat down with Autumn Azar from Dakota Wealth Management to pick her brain on the state of the financial services industry. Where are we now? Where are we headed? Who will lead us into the future? Autumn offers her insights on some of the burning questions facing the industry. Last week, Autumn spoke at the Diversitas symposium. The annual virtual event is a forum for industry leaders and rising stars to dive into the future of the industry and opportunities for young professionals looking to succeed in financial services. Stay tuned for updates on next year’s Symposium and explore key takeaways from this year’s event by visiting the Diversitas website.

Do you have any recommendations for how the industry can look to increase diversity and inclusion? Any steps individual firms should consider taking?

I believe we can do a great deal to make the industry and work environment more inclusive for many different types of people.  LGBTQ+ issues are particularly important to me, and I feel that implementing the use of pronouns in email signatures, bios, nametags, etc. can go a long way in normalizing the use of a person’s pronouns. It’s such a small task to do that barely affects a person’s day but can have a positive impact on a person’s mental wellbeing who may otherwise be misgendered.

What characteristics or traits do you commonly see among successful advisors? Do you have any advice for aspiring advisors on how to hone those traits?

Some traits I’ve seen in successful advisors is the desire to learn and grow at every opportunity they have. Most of the successful advisors put in a great deal of work continuing to keep up on current events, their knowledge and skillset. Most successful advisors seem to understand how to navigate the challenges that come with being in a client facing role, which often can be met with difficult questions or situations. So, I feel being able to listen as well as communicate is important. I feel it is too easy to just tell a client our thoughts without really hearing or acknowledging the concerns they may have. Being able to listen well and respond to a client’s fears or worries can go a long way. Validating a client is key. I feel it is needed to not only retain your client but also to create a client that will rave about your work to others.

What would you say to anyone looking to get into the wealth management industry?

I would say consider joining any networking groups you can or finance focused groups at your university. It really can be beneficial to know the right people and showing that you are involved in many different activities can leave a strong impression on employers and clients alike. I also think it is important to develop good study habits, don’t just go through your classes studying only to pass your test and then forget about everything you just learned. Find ways to practically apply what you have learned in your classes as it will make the start of your career easier having that initial foundation of knowledge to rely on. I think anyone can study to pass a test, but far fewer people absorb and apply the knowledge they have gained to other facets outside of the classroom.

Why did you choose to speak at this year’s Diversitas Symposium?

When I went through college, I never saw people like me. There was not much diversity in the classroom or in the professors. There were very few women to aspire to be like and my imposter syndrome became quite bad. If I have a chance to help prevent others from feeling the way that I did, I will take that opportunity. I think it is important to have representation of all types of people, religions, sexualities, etc. because you don’t know how much of an impact that can have on a person. Your words or your success could be the spark of inspiration to someone else to pursue something that they would have otherwise felt was a job only for men, a hostile environment, or for anything that was out of the ordinary.

Autumn Azar is dedicated to creating an exceptional, personalized client experience. Autumn’s primary responsibility is supporting the Akron advisor team in client service, financial planning, and investment research and analysis activities. An entrepreneurial spirit, Autumn, while in high school, launched a global business designing custom mascot costumes. This decade-long venture provided her with the opportunity to travel internationally and explore diverse cultures. A shining example of how Dakota mentors and molds the next generation of financial advisors, Autumn joined the Akron team on a permanent basis upon earning her bachelor’s degree in Economics and a minor in Finance from the University of Akron, where she was a member of the Economics Club and the LGBTQ student group.