Abbas Somji – Financial Advisor
What was your career ambition when you were growing up?
My career ambitions changed many times! Until age 8, I had my heart set on being an astronaut, then all I wanted to do was play or coach football (soccer). It was only midway into high school when I thought of an alternative career! I always thought of myself going into corporate finance – that was the goal until I interned at a wealth management firm in my 3rd year of university in Houston. After that, I never wanted to do anything else.
What brought you to the UK?
Many things! Actually, I was born in the UK, but after spending time in Tanzania and Florida, I spent most of my childhood in Botswana where I went to British schools. When I was a football-mad teenager, we moved to Texas where I finished high school and university and started my career. But I always felt a cultural pull to the UK and thought I would someday live here. I met my wife in 2015 who was based in London. So it seemed the perfect reason and time to make the move.
What do you miss most about the US?
My family. I have a niece and three nephews who I am incredibly close to. I speak/FaceTime with them every few days and I miss them immensely. My mum, siblings, granny and I are very close so being far away from them is the toughest part.
Getting married was pretty special! I love what I do and the people I work with, so that has been very special as well. Besides these highlights, my favourite experience is going to Liverpool games. I’ve been a massive fan since I was 5, it’s pretty much a family tradition. Getting to go to games is very special, especially this season!
NFL or Premiership OR Cricket or Baseball?
Premier league – all day, every day! I do enjoy NFL, but it’s mainly for Fantasy Football purposes.
What is the biggest challenge being an American living in the UK?
I can’t seem to find any good Tex Mex around, or enough ice in summer months! On a serious note though, there are a few things. It has been complicated filing my US/UK tax returns. I thankfully work with an accountant, and knew to immediately do so given my profession, but it is still challenging. Having to restart my credit history has been painful, especially doing so through a credit card that earns virtually no points and has limited benefits.
What is it you most enjoy about helping Anglo-American households?
Everything seems doom and gloom, like there is no way out from the complications. I love being able to help clients through the complexities and show them that things do not necessarily have to be so negative. Things can be figured out, and I can help make their lives easier while also providing them with clarity on their goals & objectives and the best way forward to achieving them.
How is the pandemic affecting your work and the clients you serve?
I feel fortunate that the pandemic has not disrupted my ability to work and serve our clients. We made the transition to remote working fairly seamlessly as we had all the tools in place. Naturally, there are challenges that come with such a sudden transition, but I have been impressed with how our clients and everyone at Tanager has adjusted.
In fact, since the pandemic started, I have never been busier. Clients are understandably concerned about how the pandemic could impact their savings and investments. At the same time, many clients have been re-evaluating their goals and life circumstances with a greater focus on what they really want for the future.
Throughout this period, it has been fascinating to see how everyone’s challenges are different. I speak to clients on a daily basis and would say the most common challenge that we all face is the separation of work and personal life. Everyone is working more. Your home space is your workspace. I think finding a balance will be the biggest challenge for us all as a remote working lifestyle becomes a reality post pandemic.
Tell me about someone who has inspired you and why?
I am inspired by my family. My wife, mum, granny, siblings, nieces and nephews are a constant driving force for me. I am driven to do the best I can and be the best I can be by them. They’re always there to tell me when I’m wrong and encourage me to do my best. My wife, Hana, in particular – she puts up with me on a daily basis! She is always there to keep me focussed and support me in my sometimes crazy ideas/goals.
A special mention for mum though. Growing up was tough. My mum was solely responsible for my siblings and me from a young age, and to see her build a successful business and raise the three of us during those tough times has inspired me. I hope I always have her drive, motivation and work ethic – she’s set the bar for us and none of us want to go below it.
What’s the last book you read?
Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall. It was recommended by a colleague, and I highly recommend it as well.
Beatles or Beach Boys?
Controversial, but neither! I do like music, but I couldn’t tell you much about popular artists or bands.