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Alana Asmussen, Dowling & Yahnke LLC

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Alana Asmussen likes making positive changes for people of all backgrounds and ages — including herself. A native of Dubuque, Iowa, she decided early in life to move to a bigger city with a different climate and new adventures.

After completing undergraduate work at the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in business and economics, she wanted to pair her aptitude in finance and economics with her interest in working directly with clients. That pursuit brought her to the West Coast 20 years ago to complete a master's degree in financial and tax planning at San Diego State University. She and her clients have benefited ever since.

"What I loved about moving from Iowa to a new place was not knowing anybody and finding my own way," said Asmussen, a director at Dowling & Yahnke, LLC, a San Diego-based wealth management firm. "I have worked at the same firm for 18 years, and it has been a tremendous opportunity to participate in its growth and development.

"We all feel extremely invested in San Diego, and proud to be doing business like we feel it should have been done for a very long time. Investors have a lot more options than they used to and that's a very good thing. It's been very fulfilling to work with this group of clients I've known for 18 years, and to also meet new people every day and help them solve their problems."

Because the firm emphasizes education, Asmussen and her fellow advisors have both the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designations. Neither is easy to achieve, she said, and requires self-study, multiple examinations and work experience. Having both the CFP and CFA designations is still not that common among advisors who work with private clients, she said.

"I get to work with a wide variety of people of all different ages, so it's always an interesting mix of problem solving. I have numerous times worked with clients who specifically said, ‘I, as the husband, have always kept track of the financial work and investments, but I realize I'm not going to be around the whole time, and I definitely want somebody who's able to relate well to my wife and who she can feel very comfortable with should something happen to me.'"

Asmussen wasn't specifically influenced by women in her chosen profession. "Even today, women are still in the minority (in the investment advisory field)," she said. The women who influenced her did so because of their passion for their chosen profession. She has given back to her profession by serving on the board and as a past president of the CFA Society of San Diego.

"I feel really lucky to have found my passion early in life, and I try and translate for a lot of the college kids and young professionals I meet who are pursuing this as a career opportunity," she said. "I think it's really important to stress education to them. I talk to them about being an educator and an adviser rather than being a salesperson."

Asmussen also is passionate about philanthropy. She is a member of PEO, a women's philanthropic education organization "where women celebrate the advancement of women and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations."

"In PEO you meet really great women who do really great things," she said.

A world traveler, she has biked through Burgundy, France and explored Paris, among other destinations. "I love seeing any place that has rich cultural history." Ever the adventurer, she plans to someday pursue the experience of living abroad — "but not forever." So for now, Asmussen is content to help make the complex world of finances a bit simpler for her many clients.

12340 El Camino Real #450 | San Diego, CA 92130 | PHONE: (858) 509-9500 | www.dywealth.com


Written by Tony Lovitt, Special to The Daily Transcript. Lovitt is a freelance writer based in La Jolla. He can be contacted at tlovitt@san.rr.com.

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David Knudsen 4:26pm March 13, 2013

The article on Alana is spot on. Dowling and Yahnke started from scratch and were very picky on who they brought on. Alana was one of the first and what a compliment to the business and the way they do business. Congrats to her and her family and Dowling and Yahnke for doing the right thing all the time.

JAMES C SAUER 4:49pm March 7, 2013