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Kay Dunham owns and operates the Reno, Nevada-based firm, First Wall Street Financial Advisors, providing comprehensive financial services. Many of her clients are conservative investors looking for stability in their investments. Others require a level of customization tailored to each individual’s personal needs.

Dunham, who entered banking in 1965, held many positions in commercial banking, and was responsible for setting bank interest rates, managing loan programs and portfolios, and issuing mortgage backs. As her career in the financial industry progressed, and as the banking world continued to merge into larger financial entities, Dunham used her experience and knowledge to go out on her own and start First Wall Street Advisors.  “My main motivation was really the individual,” says Dunham.  “As banking became more impersonal, and financial institutions became larger, I wanted to use my skills to help individuals, and develop strategies and plans tailored to each of my clients.”

While business is good today, she admits that the regulatory environment limits brokers like her. The difficulty is in keeping an effective focus on clients when they are constantly worried about today’s over-burdensome regulations.  “It causes brokers to do things not in the best interest of the client,” says Dunham, “which is what we try to avoid.”

Dunham has had challenges as a female entrepreneur in the banking industry, but her love of helping retirees, near-retirees and even young investors with retirement strategies has never waned.  “By focusing on each client, understanding the current and future climate of the economy, staying focused on long-range client goals and embracing technology as a resource, I’ve been able to be a very credible and effective adviser for all of my client pool.” 

When asked about the importance of credibility in her industry, she says it’s vital.  “Stick with your best ideas, and be consistent.” 

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