48. Understanding Risk Tolerance and The Powerful Impact of Giving Back with Helen Yang, Founder & CEO of Andes Wealth Technologies

Asian Female Leader with Business Team

We’re so thrilled to welcome Helen Yang In The Suite.  Helen is a Founder and CEO, a co-winner of the Harry Markowitz Award in 2011, and an active board member of Asian Americans for Equal Rights. 

Let’s start from the beginning. Coming from an Asian American background, Helen was always encouraged to pursue a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).  As a result, Helen holds dual bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Math from Tsinghua University, a Master of Science with a concentration in AI from RPI, and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

She started her career in FinTech even before it became a buzzword. She held leadership positions at Thomson Reuters and Charles River Development before detecting a gap in the market.

As a wealth management client, she revealed that she was dissatisfied with the ‘cookie-cutter’ services from financial services that didn’t really answer her questions. Upon digging, she learned that financial advisors didn’t have the right tools to deliver the kind of personalized insights and tools that she was expecting. The industry needed a tool that would empower financial advisors to visualize portfolio risk and compare risk against the client’s tolerance level. 

In 2017, Helen created her own company under the name of Andes Wealth Technologies. She was one of the first females to have found a FinTech company in a male-dominated industry. Furthermore, it was the first company to combine behavioral finance with analytics to help financial advisors drastically improve practice management and deliver a client experience like never before.

Within just four years, Helen witnessed tremendous success. For the second year in a row, Andes Wealth Technologies has been selected as a finalist in the 2021 WealthManagement.com Industry Award in the Risk Tolerance and Client Profiling category, and for the first time, a finalist in the Portfolio Analytics category. The jury even announced that the business had an 8.80 user rating, which is the highest score of all the different technologies of risk tolerance available! 

Helen expresses that she is very humbled by this recognition and emphasizes that she and the team really took the time to optimize and perfect the risk tolerance questionnaire to give clients a direct and transparent solution. 

While handling her successful business, Helen is also a wife and a mother of two children. In the podcast, she advises that women shouldn’t fear having children while managing a business or working. She says that family and work are both rewarding, and by sacrificing either of them, the decision will backfire in the future.  In fact, to be involved in her children’s life, Helen found various ways. She coached First Lego League robotics with her daughter, and even took part in youth soccer!

Other than that, Helen has been actively engaged in community services and civic engagements and has been a founding member of a series of community organizations, including Chinese Americans of Andover.

“Good deeds for Good Karma” is a philosophy that Helen truly believes. She reveals that she’s been inspired by acts of kindness around her and volunteers extensively to give back to society. She currently serves on the board of Lexington Lions Club and Asian Americans for Equal Rights.

“The recent event (the Atlanta shooting) shows the latent ugliness that suddenly became visible to many Americans.”

Helen Yang, CFA

One of her mission is to educate others on Asian American history to eliminate prejudice and stereotypes. In the podcast, she shares her knowledge on the identity, contributions, and challenges experienced by Asian Americans and what we can do to bridge the gap.   

From our conversation with Helen, below are the top takeaways:

1. Risk tolerance is essential: “When the market goes up, nobody cares, everyone is happy. When the market goes down, the blaming game starts”.  Helen stresses that client needs to understand that they could potentially lose money even in a relatively normal market.  

2. You can lose money even if you invest in a diversified portfolio: People are under the impression that they will not lose money by investing in a diversified portfolio.  The truth is, you can! Helen wants to have a transparent conversation at the very start so clients know what they are getting into. 

3. It’s important to document: Advisors must document that the client agreed to the upside and downside tradeoff. Clients must take Andes’ patent-pending Risk Tolerance Test and have an honest conversation with the advisor to be aware of specific outcomes beforehand.

Show Notes
Ni Hao everyone! After months of waiting, we’re thrilled to finally introduce Helen Yang in today’s episode of In the Suite! Helen Yang is an inspirational and giving person. She’s a CFA by designation, a FinTech veteran for 20 years, a co-winner of the Harry Markowitz Award, an involved mother of two children, and an active board member of Asian Americans for Equal Rights. 

 She started her career at Thomson Reuters and Charles River Development. Helen was dissatisfied with the ‘cookie-cutter’ service she was receiving from financial advisors. She realized that financial advisers didn’t have the right tools to deliver the kind of personalized insights and services she was looking for. With the mission to fill this gap, Helen founded Andes Wealth Technologies.

For the second year in a row, Andes Wealth Technologies was selected as a finalist in the 2021 WealthManagement.com Industry Award in the Risk Tolerance and Client Profiling category, and for the first time, a finalist in the Portfolio Analytics category. 

Helen is inspired by acts of kindness around her and volunteers extensively to give back to society. She serves on the board of Lexington Lions Club and Asian Americans for Equal Rights. 

In this episode, you will learn about her awe-inspiring growth journey and how she balances her personal and professional life. We also cover powerful and educational topics, including the identity and challenges experienced by Asian Americans and what we can do to combat hate. Helen also shares knowledge on why risk tolerance is essential and shares relevant stories.

Find the agenda of our conversation with Helen below:

  • Welcome Helen and her futuristic microphone
  • About Andes Wealth Technologies and how it began (02:57)
  • How the pandemic made advisors look at risk tolerance differently (04:42)
  • Congratulate Helen on her recent success (06:20)
  • The importance of risk tolerance tools explained (09:20)
  • The backstory behind the company’s name (14.40)
  • Sharing the Harry Markowitz Award 2011 with Dr. Andrew Lo (16:06)
  • Helen’s impressive educational background (21.19)
  • Inspiration behind her career choice (22:08)
  • Helen’s advice to women who want a career in Fintech (25:30) 
  • Being an advocate for equal rights for Asian Americans (32:30)
  • Educating herself and others on Asian American history (38:00)
  • How can we support Asian Americans? (40:06)
  • “Good Deeds For Good Karma” (44:22)
  • Speaking at the Wealthies Forum (47:00)
  • How to get in touch with Helen (54:10)
  • Book Recommendation by Helen (55.38) – add link 
  • Behavioral biases during the pandemic (1:03:19)
  • Thank you Helen! (1:06:17)

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