Menu Close

Driving financial wellness: Anna Labombarda

It’s not an understatement to say financial uncertainty has become the norm for many. Rising inflation levels, debts and financial planning challenges are putting the importance of financial wellness front and center.

“When you think about financial wellness, it’s really based on the four pillars of saving, spending, investing and borrowing,” explains Anna Labombarda, who leads Citi Global Wealth at Work’s Professional Services Group and Asset Manager Group. “These can cause stress in any individual at different points in their lives.”

By breaking down financial plans into clear pillars, people can seek to understand the financial concerns they may have in their daily lives. Questions around how to save for a first or second home, how to save to put their children through college and how to plan for retirement are common queries Labombarda and her teams face. It’s through their personalized wealth planning services that Citi Global Wealth at Work helps them realize their long-term financial goals.

“What we’ve found is we can help clients eliminate stress by providing the tools and talking people through what is causing them stress,” she adds.

More and more businesses are realizing the value of taking care of their employees’ financial wellbeing. Citi is using its more than 50 years of experience in serving busy professionals in the law firm industry to personalize financial wellness in four key verticals in the Law Firm Group (LFG), Professional Services Group (PSG) Asset Manager Group (AMG) and the recently established Enterprise Group (EG).

A more engaged workforce

For time-poor professionals working today, a major barrier to achieving financial security is simply finding space in their busy calendars to focus on financial wellness.

But findings from a Citi Workplace Banking survey of over 4,000 business professionals conducted in 2021 indicate that it’s clear employers can have a more central role in prioritizing financial wellness. Only 67 percent reported feeling confident in their ability to make major financial decisions while 72 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: when my employer recognizes the importance of my life and commitments outside of work, my overall job performance is better.

“It’s listening to our clients and hearing what they have to say, which helps us figure out how we are going to solve those challenges for them and what tools they need to invest safely as they look to grow their wealth at the end of the day,” Labombarda says.

The benefits of this approach for both employees and businesses are clear. Professionals will feel happier as stress related to finances declines, becoming more engaged and ready to focus on work.

“No client is the same, no one fits in the same box and we understand that. Many firms offer financial planning, but we tailor ours fully.”

Financial wellness is of growing importance for employers who historically focused on supporting employees with physical help, but now see the critical role that emotional and financial health play in employee performance.

“In addition, we recognize that women in particular may face distinct challenges — whether balancing work and life, adjusting after career interruptions or managing their family’s finances with limited free time to do so. The facts speak for themselves: women live on average five years longer than men, which means that they will likely require more in retirement savings. Our mission is to provide guidance, education and support to help all women identify their goals and build lasting wealth,” Labombarda says.

Whereas in the past firms may have offered support for physical wellbeing, employees who want to achieve sustainable personal wellness and advance their careers and their firms are pushing for more customized financial solutions. When financial stress goes down, the more engaged and happier professionals become.

“Each industry is different and the individuals that work in those industries are different, so they require a tailored wealth management solution,” she says.

“We have found that professional services firms and their employees have been early adopters of financial wellness programs in their own workplaces, appointing Chief Wellness Officers and shining a spotlight on how financial wellness is truly linked to better outcomes for employees and firms alike,” Labombarda adds.

Global scale

No one-size-fits-all approach works when supporting professionals in diverse industry verticals. According to Labombarda, the dedicated focus by Citi wealth teams on creating truly tailor-made planning strategies for clients is what sets the financial firm apart.

“No client is the same, no one fits in the same box and we understand that. Many firms offer financial planning, but we tailor ours fully. We understand their firm’s benefits and investment options, allowing us to complement our investment solutions to provide a more holistic customized solution for clients,” she says.

The global scale Citi can offer clients enables a close relationship between the firm and clients. By deeply understanding what benefits and tools firms can offer to their employees, Citi is able to assess the appropriate financial strategies.

Embracing a holistic view of investments on a range of financial topics, including asset allocation to mortgage options, is an optimal way Labombarda believes clients can financially succeed even during challenging economic times.

Asset Management Focus

After setting up the asset management vertical at Citi, Labombarda believes the unique approach of not only working with top-level professionals but also those on their journey from mid-level professionals up, is what sets them apart.

“We work with them as they’re starting in their careers, as they’re capturing their wealth and we grow with them. They know the asset manager space, they’re the ones investing all of this money, but many times they’re just so busy and miss the time,” she says.

Despite the different needs of each section of professionals, a lack of time is the constant that Labombarda has seen with all. That is where Citi Global Wealth at Work comes in, serving the most dynamic professionals with wealth management services to aid their financial wellness.

Leave a Reply