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Connecticut Hudson Valley

Financing Strategies for Growth in the Luxury Market

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The first two weeks of the new Trump-Pence administration have seen new records in the U.S. equities markets as The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke above 20,000 for the first time while Snap, a fledgling business with a fanatically loyal and predominately younger user base which is still entirely dependent on a single app, is poised for one of the largest ever IPOs.

Against an unprecedented backdrop of quick-fire signals that financial and businesses can look forward to a markedly relaxed regulatory environment, the luxury market is undergoing dramatic changes from its very definition to delivery channels and more as it reorganizes after the disappointing 2016 Holiday Season.

We are looking forward to an especially enlightening conversation with four thought leaders who will help us to try to make sense of the current financial climate outlook and provide insights for strategies, including traditional business banking, crowdfunding and private investments through family offices, to finance future growth.

Monique J Hernandez, Vice President, Small Business Banker for Bank of America, serves the Fairfield County Area in Connecticut. Monique has been helping business clients with their financial needs for over ten years.

Before joining Bank of America in 2015, Monique was a Business Relationship Manager with Wells Fargo Bank.

Monique’s main focus is to help small businesses take advantage of all the benefits the bank has to offer, including lending, account services, treasury services, foreign exchange services, merchant, and payroll, to name few, in an efficient way.

Monique graduated from Fairfield University with a BA in Mass Communications. She is an active member of the Fairfield County Commercial Broker’s Network, giving presentations on banking services and helping clients to understand the SBA process.


Phillip Laycock, Audit Partner at Grassi & Co., has more than twenty years of experience in public accounting, primarily serving clients in the manufacturing and distribution industry. The industry segments in which he has his most extensive experience are the manufacture and distribution of industrial and end-user equipment, metals, automotive and electronic components, food and beverage and chemical.

Phil is the Partner in Charge of the firm’s Crowdfunding Initiative. In that role, he has led a team in submitting a 35-page comment letter to the SEC on its Proposed Regulation Crowdfunding, written and served as editor for multiple articles; been quoted as an expert in several publications and presented on the subject matter.

Phil has worked extensively with foreign owned U.S. subsidiaries. In this area, he has performed a variety of services including audits of subsidiaries owned by parent companies in Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. He has also performed or consulted on the conversion of U.S. GAAP financial statements into German GAAP and been a component auditor for group audits working with both local mid-tier and international accounting firms in the local parent jurisdiction.

In addition to Phil’s audit experience with foreign owned subsidiaries, he has performed financial statement review and consolidation accounting services for U.S. companies that owned or acquired manufacturing entities in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and the U.K. He has assisted with the due diligence assessment and recording of acquisitions of foreign subsidiaries, including those with components in multiple currencies and those with embedded derivatives.

Phil is a licensed CPA. He graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Rodrigo C. Serrano is a vice president and a quantitative analyst for the Chief Investment Office within the Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM) division, a Bank of America Corporation. In this role, he is responsible for the development and communication of investment views in support of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management financial advisors. He is also a contributor to the thought leadership content focusing on portfolio strategies.

Prior to joining Bank of America, Rodrigo worked as member of the Mexico Equity Strategy team at Citi Research, based out of Mexico City where he researched global macroeconomic and political trends. He has also authored investment research papers published on various financial news outlets.

Rodrigo earned his Master’s degree in International Affairs from of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) designation.

Leah Zveglich is Founder and Managing Partner of The Aster Club and Managing Partner of Aster Family Advisors.

Leah is a trusted advisor and executive coach on succession, successor development and leadership transition. She founded the Aster Club, a community of business families to connect, collaborate and build a sustainable family heritage. The club focuses on learning and prevention rather than intervention after the problem arises.

She has worked with several prominent global families for long-term engagements and a dozen families and family owned businesses on projects. Family sustainability, harmony and growth are Leah’s goals. She uses her knowledge and experience as a seasoned entrepreneur and coach to bring value-based solutions to every family and specializes in building family legacy, maximizing family capital and growing family wealth across generations.

She has been an entrepreneur since her senior year in college. The White House and the Young Entrepreneurs Association have recognized Leah for her outstanding achievements in business. She understands every founder’s dilemma and recognizes symptoms of their syndrome. She has been in their shoes and walked miles.

Leah is a global citizen, born in Korea, who has lived in ten countries and worked in over 20 countries. She studied organizational behavior at Harvard University and international business at the University of Western Sydney.

With special gratitude to Jamie Schwartz of The Sterling Group, FA/Global Wealth and Investment Management, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, & Smith Inc., for her thoughtful insights and wonderful assistance in developing this event.