With almost 20 years of experience working as a retirement consultant and financial analyst for corporations such as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Global Markets, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, James Lukezic has extensive knowledge as a corporate financial advisor in multiple roles. As a graduate from Cornell University, James Lukezic knows what it takes to take a financial career to the next level. He explains how new graduates can become financial advisors in a few steps.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree and get credentialed.
According to James Lukezic, the first step to becoming a financial advisor is to obtain a bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree or even work towards a CFA designation in a perfect world. Although many people feel tempted to obtain a degree in finance, James Lukezic explains this is not necessary. Having a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance will help, but future financial advisors still need to take certification exams. He recommends taking some courses in estate planning, finance, and investments to help prepare them before the certification exam.
Get an Internship
James Lukezic recommends those who are serious about becoming financial advisors obtain an internship, especially if they don’t pursue a finance degree. Getting an internship in a finance firm will ensure candidates get a glimpse of what it’s like to work in the field. It also gives them hands-on experience in the field. After completing an internship, candidates will feel more confident going to an interview when they’re ready to pursue a full-time job.
Obtain the Licenses and Certifications
The types of certifications candidates need will depend on the services they provide clients, according to James Lukezic. For example, those who plan on selling investment products will have to obtain the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Certification (FINRA) licenses; that means getting a Member of FINRA, a Financial Firm that can sponsor a new representative to start obtaining FINRA licensing and credentials.
Other certifications include:
- Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Qualification Examination (IR)
- Securities Industry Essentials (SIE)
- General Securities Representatives Qualification Examination (GS)
- Uniform Securities State Law Examination
- Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination
- Uniform Combined State Law Examination
Looking for the First Job
Once candidates obtain a bachelor’s degree and pass all of their certification exams, James Lukezic recommends they start the job search process and obtain employment in a training program or at least with a top 10 Wall Street firm. Many people decide to start their careers with a large broker-dealer firm. Starting at a big company gives those starting their careers the opportunity to learn the business in the big leagues. No matter where they start their career, James Lukezic recommends they work for a company that will provide in-depth and hands-on training. He also talks about the importance of getting a mentor – someone who will bring you in on those face to face client meetings instead of keeping you at the office in your cubicle.
When James Lukezic is not advising large corporations, he’s helping the community. James serves as the Chairman of ITF USA, a non-profit organization that assists landmine victims in over 30 countries worldwide. He also has plans to establish a non-profit to help widows in the five boroughs. James Lukezic also serves as Treasurer of the F&A Mason lodges in the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. James Lukezic also belongs to the United States Polo Association, New York City’s Fencers Club, and the American Helicopter Society.
With almost 20 years of experience working as a retirement consultant and financial analyst for corporations such as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Global Markets, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, James Lukezic has extensive knowledge in corporate retirement plan services. In his current role as Executive Managing Director for Old Slip Capital Partners, he has taken the firm to the next level with the help of his team. “My Firm is a leading ERISA Fiduciary Advisor to large corporate retirement plans of all kinds,” he proudly says. For those who are not familiar with the role of an ERISA Consultant, James Lukezic explains what the role entails.
In the realm of ERISA or Pension consulting, James Lukezic explains, there are ERISA Consultants and retail brokers. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are specific characteristics and job duties that differentiate the two. ERISA Consultants, for example, take on liability for their advice as it relates to plan assets while brokers do not; brokers only provide arms-length advice, leaving the plan sponsor liable for any infraction as it relates to fees and investment selection. The ERISA Consultant’s job usually includes plan design and reviewing the plan documents, opening on fees and investment quality, and educating participants and investment committee’s alike.
Building quality investment menus for plan sponsors while offering the protections of a sound ERISA Fiduciary contract
According to James Lukezic, his firm provides a variety of institutional investment consulting services to retirement plan sponsors. They have investment expertise in the areas of asset allocation, manager selection, and portfolio construction. His team applies its investment expertise to build, manage and monitor investment lineups that help plan sponsors fulfill their ERISA obligations. Furthermore, they offer all types of Non-Discretionary (ERISA 3(21)) and Discretionary (ERISA 3(38)) Consulting arrangements with the aim of being as flexible as necessary to meet the best interests of any particular plan sponsor.
Implementing the ERISA Governance Process
According to James Lukezic, the next step is to implement the best practice guidelines endorsed by the Department of Labor, once a client has been onboarded. The implementation process includes, but is not limited to; investment menu corrective action, fee renegotiations with Recordkeepers and administrators, enrollment meetings, one on one consultations, enrollment coordination, and other logistics.
Long Term Management of the Plan
James Lukezic says once the plan has been implemented, there are many things the ERISA consultant needs to tend to. For starters, the consultant needs to ensure the plan complies with all of the DOL guidelines. Next, the consultant has to run analytics and gather statistics to ensure the plan meets the expectations. ERISA Consultants have to hold meetings to ensure the plan continues to meet the needs of the employer. Not to mention, they must perform an annual audit and hold quarterly investment committee meetings to review the investment line up.
When James Lukezic is not advising large corporations, he’s helping the community. James serves as the Chairman of ITF USA, a non-profit organization that assists landmine victims in over 30 countries worldwide. He also has plans to establish a non-profit to help widows in the five boroughs of NYC.
A graduate of Cornell University, James Lukezic has worked for financial giants such as Wells Fargo, Citigroup Global Markets, and Bank of America. Aside from serving as a financial analyst and
institutional consultant for many financial corporations over the years, James Lukezic also devotes his time to helping worthy causes. “I’m the Chairman of ITF USA – a non-profit that helps landmine victims in over 30 countries,” he says.
Established in 1998 in the Republic of Slovenia, the purpose of ITF Enhancing Human Security was to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina implement a peace agreement. Since its establishment, ITF has expanded its aid to help countries and territories that are affected by conflict. The purpose of this organization is to help these countries rebuild their security and rehabilitate other aspects.
Although the ITF started in Slovenia, it has had a long-standing relationship with the United States. Back in 1998, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright signed a letter of intent solidifying a partnership. The U.S. has donated over $216 million to support the many causes of ITF.
The United States Chapter of ITF is a 501(c) (3) charity that allows Americans to contribute to the many humanitarian programs available. All donors can receive a tax exemption whenever they make a donation to ITF. As James Lukezic mentioned, this organization aids over 30 countries with the removal of landmines, unexploded ordnances, reconstruction, and post-conflict rehabilitation. Some of the territories ITF helps include Central Asia, Southeast Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Southern Europe.
James Lukezic explains, for example, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) are one of the territories with the most unexploded ordnance and mines in the world. BIH is the most mine-infested territory in Europe. By the end of 2017, ITF freed of mines 6,157,717 square meters of land. Thanks to their demining efforts in BIH, ITF has freed over 85,503,068 square meters of land since 1998. Aside from their demining efforts, they also use their resources for capacity building, victim assistance, mine risk education, and destruction of surplus weapons.
James Lukezic hopes to continue making a difference with his work as chairman for ITF. Aside from his work to this cause, James Lukezic has other aspirations in mind to help the community. “I’m in the process of establishing a non-profit that will assist widows in the 5 boroughs of NYC; issuing grants to assist with everyday life,” he says.
When he’s not doing non-profit work or advising financial institutions, James Lukezic also serves as Treasurer of a F&A Mason lodge in the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. James Lukezic also belongs to the United States Polo Association, New York City’s Fencers Club and the American Helicopter Society.
James Lukezic plans on establishing a non-profit to help widows in the boroughs of Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The goal of this non-profit is to issue grants for widows to help them with everyday life and expenses. While the non-profit, Mount Moriah #20 Foundation is still going through the formation process, it will impact the community in a positive way.
In the United States, there are about 13.6 million widows, and each year about 700,000 more will become widows. Aside from dealing with the grief, some widows also see a significant decline in their income after their spouse passes away. In fact, the average widow in America sees a 37 percent decline in their household income after the death of their spouse.
Although many new widows get a lot of attention from friends and family members shortly after the death of a spouse, the help eventually stops. Out of all the people over 65 years old living in poverty in the United States, over two-thirds of them are widowers.
Widows often don’t know about all of the administrative procedures they need to take care of after the death of their spouse. They need someone to guide them with navigating health insurance policies, Social Security, life insurance, and overall financial guidance.
As a financial analyst and philanthropist, James Lukezic is no stranger to helping the community. He is the Chairman of ITF USA, a non-profit organization that helps landmine victims of over 30 countries. James Lukezic has big plans to continue helping the community and making the world a better place.
James Lukezic graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in banking, corporate, finance, and securities law. After receiving his degree from Cornell University, James Lukezic started his career in the Junior Executive Training Program at Merrill Lynch & Co. He currently works as Executive Managing Director at Old Slip Capital Partners.
His extensive experience has also led him to work for financial giants Citigroup Global Markets, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. James Lukezic also participated as a Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University in the Department of Politics. Not to mention he completed his Executive Education in Marketing at the Harvard Business School.
In his free time, James Lukezic is also a member of the United States Polo Association, New York City’s Fencers Club and the American Helicopter Society. He also serves as treasurer of the F&A Mason lodges in the Grand Lodge of the State of New York.