When her clients go through a life change, Sabina Sewillo is usually their first call. Committed to putting clients first, Sabina opens up about supporting women and the benefits of diversity in the industry.
Financial Advisor Sabina Sewillo loves “being the first phone call” for her clients. The fact that they call us first when buying a car, a home, or a vacation property is “testament to a great, long-term relationship,” she says, and a commitment to “exceptional service.”
From being on Forbes’ Inaugural Top 500 Millennial Advisors list, to Working Mother Magazine’s “Top Advisor Mom,” to Chicago Magazine’s “Five Star Wealth Manager,” Sewillo sees these accolades as recognition for the entire team, and an honor for clients who entrust The Silich Group, a four-person team that recently reached $850 million in assets under management (as of June 2018). “Financial success needs direction, so let’s navigate together,” says Sewillo, whose main focus is financial planning and insurance, including helping families organize and “really just simplify their lives.”
Sewillo came to the U.S. from Poland with her family when she was 12. Coming from a Communist regime where everything was censored, watched, and rationed, she found America in comparison to be “absolute abundance on the most grand scale.” Her heritage and humble beginnings have shaped and motivated her path.
Sabina grew up outside of Chicago and attended public schools. As early as high school, she managed her family’s finances, including negotiating insurance rates. Impressed with her skills, a local Allstate agent offered her a job working a few days a week. By the time she was 18, she had her insurance license. Looking back, Sewillo sees those insurance days as a good stepping stone. “It gave me exposure to phone calls and face-to-face client conversations,” she says.
Sewillo studied accounting and finance at DePaul University. She’s grateful that a required internship at Morgan Stanley teamed her with the senior partner Joseph Silich, who hired her immediately upon graduation in 2003. Back then, she says, only about 10 percent of Financial Advisors were women and she is thankful for the support of her team. “I never could have done it alone. I am proud to be at a firm that embraces diversity.” she says.
One of the things she loves most about her group is its family-centric approach. She helps provide guidance to families and delivers wealth management strategies that put them – and their collective values and goals – first. She earned her CFP© in 2007, and “a natural next step” was the Family Wealth Advisor designation. Listening is the most important part of tailoring a plan for clients, she explains: “We determine what matters most and customize a road map that includes investments, tax strategies, insurance, estate and wealth transfer planning.”
Knowing how hard it is to manage both a job and family, “working mothers have a special place in my heart,” says Sewillo, a mom to six-year-old twin boys. “I go the extra mile to accommodate their schedules and give them time to process and organize.” In general, she understands the importance of having women involved in their families’ finances. Sewillo had been in several situations where women are quiet during a planning meeting with their spouse. Her goal is to engage those women early on. “I want to make sure women are equipped with the power of knowledge when it comes to family wealth,” she says.
Sewillo recalls how a long-time client couple had retired recently and, devastatingly, the husband died unexpectedly. “The wife had been part of every conversation for several years, so when tragedy struck, we were among her first calls and could be there to help her get through this,” she says. “The one thing she didn’t have to worry about was the family finances.”
Her years as a Financial Advisor have taught her a few lessons, but most importantly, to always be present and happy in the life you have. “I don’t sweat the small stuff,” she says. Her hope is that more women embrace the wealth management industry, particularly as Morgan Stanley intensifies its diversity recruiting efforts. “Women are a natural fit for this. We’re intuitive, we listen, and we take a different approach in our ability to relate to wealth,” she says. Pointing to the flexibility that being a Financial Advisor provides, she adds: “I really cannot imagine my life any other way.”