No one has a monopoly on good ideas

She actually stumbled into the world of strategic investment advising and financial psychology.  Having left her role as a regional marketing director to look after two toddlers, she came across friends, in their mid-thirties, facing personal financial problems. This was around the time of 9/11 and SARS.  Many reached out to her and after a while her husband said, “Have you ever thought of doing this for a living?”.

From there it was truly the financial psychology that became a passion for Andrea Kennedy.  She believes that anyone can be an investment adviser and the industry does attract a lot of salespeople.  By helping people understand their financial narrative, one can create tremendous confidence in people to become investors in their own right.

Andrea Kennedy shares her story with AsiaBizToday and also highlights why it is critical for women to be well versed in money matters. 

What are the activities that you undertake?

I do three primary activities:  a) I act as a financial planner b) a financial therapist and c) an investment advisor.  These are distinctly different activities and some clients need all three.

I try to give my clients flexibility around how to use my services so that I am able to provide service across a large band of networth.  From people just getting started to UHNW investors.

What was your trigger and motivation to get into this?

My trigger to develop an entirely new set of skills within a very old school industry came about because the way finance is practiced does not meet the needs of most investors.  Most people want empowerment.  Most people want to ask questions and understand why they think the way they do about money, whereas most advisers or bankers just are collecting clients and commissions.  I see myself as someone who graduates clients, not collect them.

What have been your experiences in this leadership position?

I lead by doing what the rest of an industry has not done, cannot do well and can’t be bothered with.  I listen to my clients and put their interests first by acting as a fiduciary.

Which are the important factors that keep you going?

Positive feedback.  My YOY revenue has grown 100% the last 5 years.

Have you faced specific challenges because of being a woman?

Women in finance are treated as Geisha to draw in clients.  Not as strategic thinkers.  That’s why I work for myself. I understand global money flows better than most of my contemporaries and I have clients across the world.  I do not limit myself and that alone allows me to stand out and when you stand out and have something to say, people tend to look past your gender / age etc.

Where do you usually find inspiration from?

From anyone that understands, you have to be different and offer a unique value proposition in order to create long term success.  I find inspiration from every age group and many nationalities.  No one has a corner on good ideas.

What’s your proudest moment so far?

On a personal note, I’m most proud of my children and what resourceful adults they have become.  They are truly amazing to me.  On a professional note, building a business when others laughed it off.  

How would you define success?

Finding a way to get paid to do that which you love the most.  It could be dog walking, painting houses or building a billion-dollar business.  Size does not matter, but rather the spirit of your success.

What Advice do you have for other aspiring Entrepreneurs, especially women?

  • Develop a service that is needed, not just one that you personally would like. Rather one that there is obvious demand for and it’s not being met.  Women have HUGE opportunities because many services are really developed with men in mind.  
  • NEVER work for free.  EVER.  And raise prices consistent with inflation.  Women really miss on this one and give away products and services and get in a spiral of freebies from which they don’t recover.