ATL Data & Analytics

A Strong Portfolio: Anooj Zaveri on the Intersection between Money Management and Data Strategy

Anooj Zaveri

Even though Anooj Zaveri was working as a financial specialist immediately after graduating with a Master of Business Administration degree – approving home loans and opening checking accounts – he wasn’t managing his own long-term finances.

And then he got married.

He was working with Daugherty Business Solutions at the time, although he wasn’t yet a Director of Data & Analytics, as he is today. His brother-in-law told him about a money management strategy that involved finding the easiest passive method that would pay off in the long run.

So Anooj began learning about index funds. This piqued his interest enough to dive into research about three-fund portfolio and asset allocations. Beforehand, Anooj had always thought of long-time finances as cherry-picking stocks. Now, his strategy shifted to finding a vehicle to plant money that he didn’t have to monitor daily.

This more strategic approach is similar to Anooj’s role as a Director of Data & Analytics at Daugherty Business Solutions, where he leads teams and develops data strategy for clients, because it starts with strategy (which involves understanding the current landscape and then end goals) and requires building relationships.

It all starts with strategy

Both data & analytics and money management need to be tied to long-term goals that change over time.

The basic principle behind money management is that, as you get older, you reduce the risk of exposure. A general rule is to take your age and subtract it from 110. So if you’re 40, you subtract 40 from 110 and get 70, which indicates that 70 percent of your portfolio should be in stocks and 30 percent in fixed income. Each year, the strategy changes, with increasingly stable vehicles for investment, lower returns and less risk of exposure.

Likewise, clients have to adapt strategies for the long-term. Many times, organizations are energetic about making data accessible between departments, but they don’t tackle the underlying problem, so they end up with a solution that is the status quo wrapped up in a new tech set.

To achieve an ideal solution, Anooj first has to understand the current landscape and then understand the end goal, so that he can customize a solution to arrive from Point A to Point B.

First understand the current landscape

When Anooj started in Data & Analytics over a decade ago, his focus was on visualization and ETL development. He immersed himself in the trends and technologies for data quality, reporting, process automation and data migration. With each client site, he would understand the current systems, technologies and processes in place and how they were leveraged.

Likewise, with money management, Anooj began to follow the blogs of respected money managers and even started a Daugherty Slack channel to discuss everything investing – from different investment strategies to cryptocurrency trends.

But knowledge alone isn’t enough. The knowledge must be tailored specifically to end goals.

Understand the end goal to customize a solution to arrive from Point A to Point B

In data & analytics, when Anooj works with clients, he tailors a solution around their goals – striving first to understand the underlying problem, rather than prescribing something boilerplate and out-of-the-box.

In money management, getting from Point A to B is very subjective. Long-term strategies still carry a wide breadth as far as implementation goes. Somebody, for example, might offset a rule by supplementing their portfolio with a real estate asset and rental income.

It’s about building relationships

To Anooj, it’s about building relationships. This means both with the client and with fellow consultants.

With clients, Anooj strives to establish a personal connection first.

“It’s much easier to talk work once you have that personal connection,” he said.

He also solicits feedback regularly and really tries to listen to pain points. This enables him to pivot quickly when necessary and ensure that he’s truly delivering a solution that provides value.

With fellow consultants, Anooj recognizes that he is part of a team, and that teamwork is what gets the job done at the end of the day. By listening to fellow consultants, he learns their strengths and passions, which he can apply to specific aspects of a client’s strategy.

Both of these are applicable to money management.

It requires a team to invest; that’s why people work with wealth management teams that consist of portfolio strategists, accountants, investment specialists and more. But it requires a personal connection first: Money impacts everything, so Anooj has to carefully consider his family’s personal goals.

Anooj also enjoys sharing what he knows about money. In fact, he ended up leading a two-part series for Daugherty consultants, discussing financial health from a knowledge-sharing perspective – first, going through foundational concepts, and then highlighting different types of investment accounts, the tax implications and potential strategies.

Ultimately, there’s no silver bullet to approaching both money management or data solutions. A solution can be as hands-on and complex as you want. That’s why both involve strategy and relationships – understanding the current landscape and the end goals.

Then the question becomes: Is your time worth it?

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