This March, Allisen Graves celebrated her 10th year with HSBC in New York City. A senior vice president relationship manager with the private bank, Graves has been working with many of the same high-net-worth clients for years, advising them through any decisions they must make regarding banking, lending, trusts, insurance, and investments — every “financial aspect of [their] life,” she told Business Insider over lunch recently.
“My clients are like family to me,” Graves said. “[These financial choices] are going to impact their children, their spouses, their charities, or whoever that next generation of wealth is going to be passed on to. I play a very important role in their lives.”
Her role calls for busy days that are filled to the brim with client meetings and seminars. We asked Graves to document a typical day, starting from the moment she wakes up bright and early in her home in suburban New Jersey.
The first thing she does is make a cup of coffee and check her work email via her Blackberry. She'll also catch up on any overnight market news she might have missed while sleeping.
Next, she wakes up her kids -- Ryan, 4, and Madison, 7 -- to get ready for school. Depending on their schedules, Graves and her husband, Jim, will alternate who does the drop-off.
Today, Graves takes her son to preschool for his 6:30 a.m. drop-off since she needs to get to the office a bit early. Breakfast is provided at the school, and Graves sits with one of her son's teachers for a quick bite.
Today she's able to catch the 6:36 a.m. bus to Manhattan. While on her way, Graves checks her calendar, responds to emails, and reads the news.
'If I have enough time, I also check my personal emails to catch up on any items that need attention, such as school activities, my daughter's Daisy Scout troop, and any home items, like bills to be paid,' she said.
Before she arrives at the office, Graves orders her second cup of coffee for the day. 'God bless the Starbucks To-Go app,' she said. 'I know where on my route I need to put in my order so that I walk in, I pick it up, and I get to the office.'
Graves arrives at the office around 7:30 a.m. 'It's all about maximizing every minute,' Graves said. While no two days are exactly the same, a typical work day can include a mix of meeting clients and connecting with internal partners in the retail network and the business team.
'By the time I get into the office, most of my emails have already been answered,' Graves said. 'So I take a look at what happened yesterday, what needs to be done today, what needs to be followed up on, my to-do list, and my prioritisation list.'
Graves also greets her core team, which includes an administrative assistant, a relationships officer, and a client service executive. 'HSBC has a really good structure to our team. It makes it more efficient,' she said.
Much of Graves' day takes place away from her desk. 'As a relationships manager, it's important that I'm in front of all (of our) clients, prospects, and my internal partners,' she said.
'Today I hosted a meeting bringing together my private bank specialists along with our wealth advisors from New Jersey and the Bronx to talk about the various solutions we have to offer to clients,' she said.
Her next meeting of the day is with team members to discuss a particular client's investment strategy. After that, Graves meets with her immediate team members to debrief and come up with a list of next steps.
After the meeting, Graves meets Business Insider at one of her favourite lunch spots, Zuma, located just around the corner from the HSBC offices in Murray Hill. Graves says she enjoys bringing her clients here.
After the meeting, Graves picks up both her children to bring them home for an afternoon snack before heading to one of their favourite activities: hockey. Madison is her team's goalie.
Graves watches their practice while multitasking -- her work day isn't entirely over: 'I catch up on the rest of my work day and try to organise the rest of my week,' she said.
She always leaves time for some fun. This week the kids got to pick an activity: baking their favourite cake.
Between her schedule, the children's schedules, and her husband's, Graves has to keep organised. This 'organisation center,' as Graves calls it, helps keep everything in order.
'The first day of every month I go to that calendar and write in everyday what (activities) my daughter or son has, what I have, what charity events we've got, and then I take a look at our work calendars and which mornings my husband needs to be in early, which weeks he's travelling -- it's all there,' she said.
After the kids are asleep, Graves has one more task: putting the finishing touches on decorations for a gala she's working on with a local nonprofit, the Upper Saddle River Education Foundation.
Before heading to bed around 10:30 p.m., Graves checks her email one more time. 'I make sure everything is cleaned up so I can go to bed knowing that everything is taken care of,' she said.