Q & A with Paula Landau, CFP®, ChSNC®

We recently sat down with Paula A. Landau, CFP®, ChSNC® Managing Director, to learn more about her background and who and what inspired her career in finance.

Q: What was your first job?

A: I was a Research Assistant at T. Rowe Price where I supported the analysts on the New Horizons Smallcap Fund. It was exhilarating to learn about our industry and work with so many intelligent and good people. I wanted to be in on every conversation and enjoyed being the liaison between the analysts and trading department when we were introducing a new investment or raising cash for liquidations.


Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.

A: I have been servicing clients for over 20 years and have remained passionate about it. In the 1980’s, I worked at Alex. Brown & Sons servicing high net worth clients and managing our busy IPO calendar. We brought companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Jiffy Lube public and it was a real thrill. After staying home for 10 years to raise my children, I went back to work for registered investment advisors who provided financial planning as well as investment management. I obtained my CFP designation in 2014 and started working at Chevy Chase Trust in 2015. At Chevy Chase Trust, I earned my CTFA designation and had the opportunity to provide trustee services for my clients when applicable.


Q: What inspired you to pursue a specialized certification in Special Needs Planning?

A: I have been fortunate to work with many families who have children with special needs. I have grown to know and care deeply about these children and their families. Unlike many wealth management subject matters, Special Needs Planning is not universally understood, not is there a plethora of information readily available. There are unique legal techniques and tools that apply to this specialized area and I was determined to develop a mastery of the subject to help families with what matters most—the well-being and safe-keeping of their children. It is an evolving field and through the American College of Financial Services and The Academy of Special Needs Planers, along with the other organizations I belong to, I plan to keep abreast of changes and developments in the field.


Q: What do you enjoy most about your career?

A: The relationships I build with my clients. It is rewarding to work with clients through various stages of their lives, helping them problem solve and reach their financial and non-financial goals. I understand they have busy lives and I enjoy keeping track of their big-picture goals, the smaller details and all of their moving parts.


Q: What would you do if not this?

A: I’ve been with Chevy Chase Trust for five years and I continually wish I had started working at the firm earlier. It is a great company to work for because we always put the client first, have no conflicts of interest, and are committed to providing an exceptional experience for our clients. Everyone here is knowledgeable, experienced, has integrity, and a desire to serve the client. I couldn’t be working at a better place or with better people. But if you forced me to do something different, I would be an estates and trusts attorney.


Q: What is the best book you have read recently?

A: My most recent favorites have been Pachinko and The Heart’s Invisible Furies. Currently I am reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It is 1,400 pages long and a beautiful story.


Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a career path similar to yours?

A: You need to genuinely care about people. If you don’t enjoy people and building relationships, find something else to do. This is not a transactional 9-5 type of job. It is a job where you listen and understand and problem solve to help your clients get where they want to be. You need to be proactive and keep in touch with your clients to learn about life changes as they are happening. If you truly enjoy learning about and helping people, it is an honor to be a part of their lives and very heartwarming.