Dalia Ozeri Didn’t Take The Path Of Least Resistance To Reach Her Current Level Of Success

Dalia Ozeri, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Financial Advisor

Dalia Ozeri had a long and very successful career as a private banker before she came to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in 1998, but she says if she could do it all over again she would have become a Financial Advisor sooner.

“To get the flexibility,” she explains. “You make your own hours, you build your own business — it’s all up to you.”

When she started out in private banking in the late 1970s at Bank Leumi in Israel, her goal was to transform that country into what she calls “a Switzerland for Jews,” to help clients from other countries, especially troubled ones at the time, such as South Africa and what was then Rhodesia (today’s Zimbabwe).

She then moved to New York City and began working to open up the Brazilian private banking market, also during economically and politically difficult times. “It was a very volatile market,” Ozeri said. “They were just coming out of a military dictatorship and were going through multiple currency devaluations. “ She helped her clients hedge their country risks by investing in the U.S.

Today the mother of three and grandmother of four looks back at the time in her career when she was a private banker working to open the Brazilian and overall Latin American markets in the 1980s and 90s, and she marvels at how she managed to build both a career and a family.

“It didn’t matter what was happening. You had to travel,” Ozeri says. “I was seven months pregnant and flying to Brazil. I can’t imagine doing that now.”

She recounted a particularly stressful choice she once had to make between work and family when her children were small. “My child was in the hospital with a severe croup attack, and my boss called and said, ‘You have to come in,’ “ she says.

She did not go to work that day, but she did the next day and the rest of the week, even though her daughter was in the hospital for several days. Ozeri’s husband took time off from his work to stay with their child. “I felt so guilty about it though,” she says.

“It’s different, however, at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney,’ she says.“The Firm is very supportive of its employees who have families to care for.”

Ironically, though, she wasn’t even looking for that flexibility when she joined the Firm. Rather, it was changes in the investing landscape in the 1990s that led her to become a Financial Advisor.

“There was a transformation in investing at a certain point. We couldn’t compete with the broker-dealers anymore,” Ozeri says. “So I developed a relationship with Smith Barney to help me in working with my clients to build portfolios.”

Eventually this relationship led her to consider becoming a MSSB Financial Advisor. Even though her transition to being a Financial Advisor was smooth — most of her clients came with her — Ozeri relishes a challenge, and she opted to set up her business as a team, rather than her own endeavor. It was 1998, and this hadn’t been done before at MSSB, so her plan was seen as odd by some, she says.

“I just stayed the course,” she says.

Today she has a highly successful team of 12 people, and is ranked 14th on Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors 2011, and 58th on Barron’s overall Top 100 Financial Advisors 2011.

Her children are grown now, so the flexibility of being a Financial Advisor allows her to enjoy her grandchildren with her husband, living in New York City, and participating in not just one, but two book clubs (why two? one is “serious” and the other is “more relaxed,” so she likes both). She also volunteers for literacy campaigns and a bone marrow transplant registry.

When asked what she would tell other women who are looking at becoming a Financial Advisor, Ozeri recommends seeking advice from other female Financial Advisors like her, whose businesses are already established. The most important thing, though, is to concentrate on clients, she says.

“You’ll get much more success if you just focus on your clients, take them out and listen to them,” she says.

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Source: Barron’s “Top 100 Financial Advisors,” April 18, 2011. Barron’s is a registered trademark of Dow Jones & Company, L.P. All rights reserved. Barron’s “Top 100 Financial Advisors” bases its rankings on qualitative criteria: professionals with a minimum of 7 years financial services experience, acceptable compliance records, client retention reports, customer satisfaction, and more. Advisors are quantitatively ranked based on varying types of revenues and assets advised by the financial professional, with weightings associated for each. Because individual client portfolio performance varies and is typically unaudited, this ranking focuses on customer satisfaction and quality of advice. For more information on ranking methodology, go to http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors or contact Barron’s Associate Editor, Matt Barthel, at matthew.barthel@barrons.com. The rating may not be representative of any one client’s experience because it reflects a sample of all of the experiences of the advisor’s clients. The rating is not indicative of the advisor’s future performance. Neither Morgan Stanley Smith Barney nor any of their financial advisors pay a fee to Barron’s in exchange for the rating.

Source: Barron’s “Top 100 Women Financial Advisors,” June 6, 2011. Barron’s is a registered trademark of Dow Jones & Company, L.P. All rights reserved. Barron’s “Top 100 Women Financial Advisors” bases its rankings on qualitative criteria: professionals with a minimum of 7 years financial services experience, acceptable compliance records, client retention reports, customer satisfaction, and more. Advisors are quantitatively ranked based on varying types of revenues and assets advised by the financial professional, with weightings associated for each. Because individual client portfolio performance varies and is typically unaudited, this ranking focuses on customer satisfaction and quality of advice. For more information on ranking methodology, go to http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors or contact Barron’s Associate Editor, Matt Barthel, at matthew.barthel@barrons.com. The rating may not be representative of any one client’s experience because it reflects a sample of all of the experiences of the advisor’s clients. The rating is not indicative of the advisor’s future performance. Neither Morgan Stanley Smith Barney nor any of their financial advisors pay a fee to Barron’s in exchange for the rating.

© 2011 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.