Dalal Salomon, CEO and founding partner of Salomon & Ludwin in Richmond, Va., was born in Honduras to Palestinian parents, became a U.S. citizen at age 7, and was raised in Flint, Mich., above a grocery store owned by her father. She has decades of advisory experience and a business degree from Michigan State University, but it’s her immigrant, working-class roots that she credits most for her success building her almost $1 billion-under-management practice.
Barron’s: What life lessons have been important to your career?
We typically have the next three-to- five years of income set aside, so we don’t have to make adjustments when the markets are down.
Dalal Salomon: I learned from my parents never to judge people by their color, religion, or economic status. Because we felt the discomfort and pain of being judged, we understood the importance of really knowing and believing the best in people. This became the foundation for my career—the ability to form genuine relationships with clients, to recognize and affirm their goals, and assuage their worries.
What are the major themes in conversations with clients these days?
They’re ecstatic that the markets have recovered, but they’re very nervous about the disconnect between what’s happening in the world and what the stock market is doing.
How did you stave off panic when the market tanked?
We typically have the next three-to-five years of income set aside, so we don’t have to make adjustments when the markets are down.
So the trick to a good night’s sleep is simply having enough cash on hand?
We also help remove emotion by using a patented portfolio logic tool called Triggerpoint that indicates when to sell things that have gone up too much and when to buy things that have gone down. We developed it in 2009, and with what has been happening recently, we launched Triggerpoint 2.0, which factors in this low-interest-rate environment.
How are you investing?
An average portfolio has about 55% in U.S. large stocks, 15% in international developed, 5% in emerging markets, and the rest in small- and mid-caps. In fixed income, we’re relying on traditional sources. There’s no reason to go long on the yield curve because it’s not paying anything to do that. The market is doing well, so our income is coming from taking incremental profits.
Who are your clients?
We work with 650 households. They’re entrepreneurs or just good savers and hardworking people. We recently set a minimum of $2 million to limit growth—our clients have been with us for 30-plus years and we don’t want to get to the point where we can’t give everyone a lot of attention.
Do you have a role model?
My mother. She was a warrior. She married at 14, had her first of five children at 15, migrated to Honduras at age 16 and to America at 27, spoke three languages, and passed her GED in her 40s. Seeing her not just survive, but thrive and care for others—this is what cultivated my deep care for my clients, my independence, and perseverance.
Email: [email protected]