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BCCJ Member Spotlight: Lloyd Danon
BCCJ Junior Editor Trevor Himstead caught up with Lloyd Danon of Argentum Wealth to learn more about what brought him to Japan, how he co-founded and grew Argentum Wealth, and hear advice for anyone considering financial planning. Here is his story…
Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
Sure. I was born and raised in Leeds in the UK and studied finance and accounting at the University of Manchester. After graduating, I worked briefly as an auditor for a large accounting firm but soon realized I wanted to do something more challenging and exciting. So, I ended up coming to Japan over 20 years ago and have been working here as a financial advisor ever since. After working within the financial services industry for 8 years and then hitting a glass ceiling in my career, I decided to start my own company. I co-founded Argentum Wealth Management with my business partner, Martin Zotta, in 2007.
Argentum Wealth was set up to support foreign nationals in areas such as investments, insurance, and real estate. We became one of the most locally licensed firms to offer financial services in Japan. We saw growth by expanding the services we provided and through having an experienced team of Advisors. Aside from work, I spend my free time with my lovely Japanese wife and two beautiful children and plan to continue living in Japan for quite some time.
What initially drew you to Japan?
My father has been travelling here for business since the 1960s, and when I was young, he would bring me back interesting and unique gifts. I guess this sparked an innate curiosity in me about Japan at a young age, and when I had the opportunity, I decided to move to Japan to work for a year or two, which then became three years and so on until the present day.
What was your motivation to start Argentum Wealth?
At the time, starting a new chapter with Argentum Wealth seemed the natural next step. I was already a Director at another financial planning firm but then reached a point where I didn’t see any more career growth. I also wanted to offer a broader range of services to our clients, emphasizing holistic advice. So I then talked to my colleague Martin Zotta and managed to talk him into setting up on our own. It was a very stressful time, just before the Lehman Shock, but with the help and support of our clients who continued with us, we have managed to work hard enough to build Argentum Wealth into the business it is today.
Since Argentum was Founded, how have you seen the company change and grow?
Our core values have very much remained the same. However, we have gotten much better at what we do over time, something that comes with experience. When we were a new company, we didn’t have the same market share that we have today or nearly the same name recognition. We have grown through working hard for our clients and helping them grow and protect their wealth. Many clients now come to us simply through word of mouth or are introduced through existing clients.
What is your approach to each new client?
The key is to understand their situation thoroughly. We start by going through a financial review with the client to analyze their current situation and understand their future goals. We then work with the client to find practical solutions that will enable them to meet their future plans. Ultimately, the most important thing is to make no preconceived assumptions when dealing with clients regarding their circumstances or needs. As I said earlier, we have been doing this a long time and have accrued lots of experience, so we can also make clients aware of any potential pitfalls they should be concerned about. Tokyo has a small foreign community, so I just enjoy being a part of that and supporting each client as best as I can.
Do you have any traits you use with clients on a one-on-one basis to help strengthen those relationships?
The number one most important thing to do is just do a good job. At the end of the day, I am a wealth manager, and it is impossible to be in this business for 20 years if you’re not making your clients any money. I am in a position where I need to be responsible and always have my clients’ best interests at heart, so simply taking care of them is one of the most important things I can do.
How does this job help transform people’s lives and do you have any specific examples?
We help transform many lives by providing people with the freedom and the opportunity to meet their financial goals and help them feel at ease with their financial circumstances. A large number of my clients I have been working together with for over 20 years. For example, when I first met some of my earlier clients, they were single and just out of college, so their financial needs and goals are different now than they were 20 years ago. People change as life goes on, and as this evolution takes place, we at Argentum Wealth pride ourselves on having the skills and the know-how to provide an excellent service no matter what their stage in life.
What advice would you give to someone who is only beginning to think about their financial future?
No matter what situation they may find themselves in, they should never be nervous about their current financial situation. Just reach out, speak with an advisor, and see what they have to say – it can provide great peace of mind. Younger people are often more nervous about talking with financial advisors; however, it is never too early to start planning a path for your future. We understand that knowing where to start may be difficult and that each situation is unique; that’s why we never make any assumptions.
What is your favourite thing about working at Argentum Wealth?
I helped start this company back in 2007 and have had the privilege of watching the company pick up momentum and grow the past 14 years. That, for me, has to be one of the most satisfying experiences I could imagine. Throughout my days at Argentum Wealth, I have watched the company become the largest advisory team in Tokyo helping the foreign community. Our clients have also been a big part of this, especially the support when we set up our business. Being here to give back to them and support the community in Japan is exceptionally fulfilling work. As many of my clients have been with me for many years, meetings with them are like catching up with life-long friends. I enjoy coming to the office, working together with our fantastic team, and meeting with my clients.
As a final question, away from the office, what does an ideal day look like to you?
I have two young children aged 6 and 8, so my perfect day would be simply to spend time with them. I enjoy taking day trips to Chiba or Izu and love taking them skiing or to the beach. There is so much to do in Japan that is easily accessible and kid-friendly, making fixing up a family trip easy. So, heading off and spending some quality time with my family would be my perfect day.