Dega Nalayeh is one of Bank of America's top advisors to the ultra-wealthy. She just clocked $6.4 billion in client assets, and is now climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Banker of the Weekseries appears in our weekday newsletter, 10 Things on Wall Street.
- This week we're featuring Dega Nalayeh, a managing director and private-client advisor at
Bank of America's private bank.
Dega Nalayeh told Insider that she's currently climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. She's doing it to honor her sister, Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh, who was killed during a terrorist attack at a hotel in Somalia in July 2019.
Dega Nalayeh and 14 other climbers have so far raised more than $230,000 for the nonprofit Give to Learn to Grow Foundation. Proceeds help underserved communities in Somaliland.
Today — when not climbing mountains — she is (figuratively) moving them for the ultra wealthy. Nalayeh is a managing director and advisor at Bank of America's private bank, where she manages $6.4 billion in client assets.
She built that book from scratch, relying on tried-and-tested word-0f-mouth strategies. Her savvy networking capabilities have also come in handy, particularly when she met a professional basketball player with the Atlanta Hawks, whose identity she could not disclose.
Climbing the highest mountain in Africa sounds easy when considering the adversity Nalayeh has faced. She moved to Canada from Somalia at just 11 years of age. While her father worked as a parking attendant, she ran a newspaper route as a teenager.
Later, she moved from Georgia to California for her husband. But when Nalayeh joined BofA's private bank in 2006, she was divorced with a two-year-old son.
Nalayeh, who is 49, told Insider that she doubted her ability to be a rainmaker for the bank at a time when she was dealing with a divorce and a toddler. But in six months, she landed a high-net-worth client.
The banker leads a team of 13 alongside Avi Cohen, a fellow MD and private client advisor who was once her rival within the bank.
Most of their clients come from the entertainment and media industries, as well as tech, real estate, and healthcare.
Nalayeh is also focused on finding more women clients, including those who are overwhelmed by responsibilities found both at home and in the workplace.
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