Elizabeth “Liz” Weikes, 37, believes part of her successful approach derives from being in one of the few practices with an all-female leadership at JP Morgan and on Wall Street.
“[It] is very unique. It is not the genetic makeup of any Wall Street team whether it be in wealth management or Wall Street, as a whole,” said Weikes, who also mentors military veterans transitioning into the finance sector through American Corporate Partners and is a member of 100 Women in Finance. “And I think -- just the whole female psyche -- it brings a very different discussion in terms of how we manage the client [and] how we think about the client.”
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Along with her partners, Eden Lopez, Leslie Schwartz, and Paula Steinberg, Weikes manages the wealth of C-suite executives, family offices and business owners. With the scale of JP Morgan behind The LSSW Group, Weikes says she and her partners have a comprehensive relationship with clients. Along with wealth management services, Weikes assists clients with trading, banking and even delivery services.
She recalls a moment when a long-time client needed to overnight documents from New York to London for a project he personally invested in. The practice managed to contact DHL Express’ helicopter delivery service to take a package of documents a few thousand miles across the Atlantic Ocean by the imminent deadline.
Weikes' path to wealth management wasn't a direct one. She grew up in Colts Neck, New Jersey and attended Indiana University, Bloomington to study political science and finance. Knowing that she wasn't ready to enter Wall Street, in 2004 Weikes worked the poli-sci part of her degree to land her first job out-of-college at the British Embassy in New York. She worked on trade between the U.S. and the U.K. on the business development team. Weikes liked the marriage of history and politics, but had a passion for finance and eventually headed for Wall Street.
"I was living in Manhattan, so I had a lot more exposure to Wall Street than I did when I was in college in Indiana. I always thought that I'd ultimately end up in Wall Street but, I knew that it wasn't where I wanted to be directly out of college," she says.
She scored a job at Bear Stearns and got her bearings as a wealth manager for families and a trader for institutions in 2006. In 2008, the investment bank was acquired in a fire sale during the financial crisis and Weikes, along with Bear Stearns, became part of JP Morgan Chase.
As for markets, Weikes wants to take a long-term view. She believes market volatility is inevitable and her goal is to set her clients up to weather market storms. She looks at company fundamentals and says she prefers a "plain vanilla" approach with traditional stocks and bonds. Knowing that one size portfolio doesn't fit all, she customizes her portfolio and relationship to clients' needs and personalities.
"Every client is different, it's no different than a doctor. You’re gonna have some patients that are nervous nellies and some that are not; some that can stomach volatility, some that can’t. It’s knowing those personalities and being able to be ahead of the curve with them," said Weikes.