Kathy Daly was running late for our 12 p.m. interview. It was the day after J.P. Morgan Chase acquired Bear Stearns at the fire-sale price of $2 a share, and she’d been calling clients since 6 a.m., soothing nerves already rubbed raw by the previous week’s market plunge. Her aim: calming her clients before their concerns could turn to panic.
“I’d rather have them holding my hand than someone else’s,” says Kathy Daly, an advisor with City Securities in Muncie, Indiana.
Terms like mothering and hand-holding slip easily into the conversation when Daly talks about her clients. This nurturing bent represents the philosophy of one of her early mentors, and reflects the personal passion that drew Daly toward the advisory business in the first place.
In the early 1980s she was a commodities trader, specializing in precious metals. It was a lucrative sector to be in, but the business never sat well with Daly.
“Fear and greed fueled that market,” she remembers. Her job was to convince people to buy silver and gold. Without knowing anything about the clients, though, such as their overall financial situation or long-term goals, she was uncomfortable making specific investment recommendations.
“I didn’t feel good talking to people about just one element of investing,” Daly says.
So she enrolled in night school, studying economics and psychology. She wanted a better understanding of the entire market structure and a better way of communicating with clients about their finances.
“I called it, ‘How to play the market and keep your mind,’” she laughs.
Once armed with a more comprehensive knowledge of the investment markets, Daly considered two career paths–banking and brokerage. Back then banks could only talk to clients about banking products, and she wanted to offer clients a more inclusive investment plan, so she interviewed with two area brokerage firms.