60 second interview with Zena Couppey, LGL
Citywealth spoke to Zena Couppey, Chief Commercial Officer at LGL who took up the new role in May 2020 to find out how she was settling in and what’s on the work agenda.
26 October 2020
Tell me about your role.
I am one of the Investment Managers at Henderson Rowe, working with HNWI’s predominately in the UK, Ireland & the Far East. I also work in our dedicated Tier 1 department dealing with our overseas clients looking to settle in the UK. We build a suitable asset allocation for these clients adhering to the strict visa requirements and we work closely with the Home Office throughout the entire process of obtaining residence in the UK.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The first point of call is reading all the finance/business press coverage to make sure I keep up to date with market developments and the most recent economic data released that morning. We have team calls in the morning twice a week to keep abreast of developments at Henderson Rowe and to get updates from the different departments in the business. Typically I am responding to client enquiries over email and I would say I spend a good chunk of the day on the phone with existing and new clients alike. The end of the day will involve a conference call with one of the analysts to discuss investment matters, or else I will be looking over my client portfolios.
Tell us about a recent client instruction.
An individual came to me because he was unhappy with how his SIPP had been performing with his investment platform, and wanted to know if our investment process and asset allocation would be different from his existing arrangements.
Once I had looked into his portfolio I realised the portfolio was heavily invested into funds and had a very large exposure to the UK. We addressed this by offering the individual direct exposure to equities through our high-conviction stock holdings, and our portfolios are truly global which allowed the SIPP to get exposure to developed as well as emerging markets.
Not only were we able to remove an unnecessary layer of fees levied by active fund managers, but we were also able to give the client exposure to overseas markets with real potential of economic growth because diversification is critical in the world of investing.
What challenges do your clients face and how are you helping your clients to overcome them?
The two most noticeable challenges are uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 as well as clients still being nervous about having ‘face to face’ meetings. Understandably clients want reassurance on their portfolios especially as Corona has caused far-reaching challenges to not only the economy but general day-to-day running of businesses. Our advice is that removing emotion from any decisions will help the portfolio navigate this uncertainty and to remind clients of their investment goals which typically run many years in to the future. Our portfolios use institutional strategies which we are confident are well positioned to ride out the natural ebbs and flows of the markets.
On the second point I am always happy to drive to a client’s home or convenient location for a meeting, and where a client would prefer zoom/teams call I make sure I am available in the day time but also in evenings and weekends too.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I am now in third year at Henderson Rowe and I am delighted I made the transition into the investment management industry and I haven’t looked back since. I am fortunate enough to work with extremely intelligent individuals who are always on hand to offer their advice and support when needed. Our office is made up of professionals from all different walks of life and we have a unique mix of cultures and ethnicities so I have been lucky enough to work alongside all of my colleagues and learn more about their journeys so far.
Who do you most admire and why?
I admire my father who passed away in 2010 the most because not only was he a great dad, husband and friend, his work ethic and his journey are a great reminder of perseverance and dedication to achieve your goals in life.
My dad grew up in a working-class Irish immigrant family in a council flat in North London, as a teenager he worked two jobs and studied at night school to learn new trades, and he made a success of himself by leaving the family in a good position going forwards. My dad taught me the value of a pound coin, and that ultimately hard work will pay off in the end, and to surround yourself with well-intentioned people to share your journey with.
Favourite travel destination?
It’s a mix between the bright lights and superyachts of Monaco, and the Emerald green fields of County Kerry in Ireland. The former is a place where I love to see the fruits of hard work and success, the latter allows me to connect with nature and unwind, both equally brilliant, and both equally desirable for my next holiday abroad!
Top tips for WFH?
I managed to convince my mum to let me look after one of her German Shepherds, so since March I have been taking good care of Keira with daily walks in the local countryside. Not only has this meant I am getting my exercise in for the day, but just being out in nature and exploring my local area has meant I have met new people and discovered hidden gems I wouldn’t have ever seen if I was passing by in the car. My advice is to get your trainers or hiking boots out of the closet and enjoy a nice walk one evening.
If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?
One of my long-term goals is to own my own gym because sports and exercise has been an important part of my 20’s which I missed out on completely through school. I used to be overweight and never exercised and my general attitude of anything related to a gym was one of dread. I was introduced to a Senegalese boxing coach called Tacko a few years ago and he encouraged me to break my bad habits, eat properly and exercise more and I have managed to maintain that lifestyle four years on.
I would like to engage with people who struggle with losing weight and generally having a healthy lifestyle in a welcoming manner because I have been there myself, I understand the challenges, and I would provide the support to help people make the right lifestyle choices.