As a child, Yolla S. Kairouz dreamt of becoming a doctor, yet her career aspirations shifted after seeing her mother climb the ranks in banking—being promoted from a teller to an assistant branch manager. This achievement later sparked Ms. Kairouz’s interest in finance and economics as a college undergraduate when she realized that both wealth management and physical well-being are important and transferred her passion for health to the balance sheet. Now, as a private banker and executive director of J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Los Angeles, California, she is an expert in finance, wealth management, and financial planning for public and private C-suite executives and uses her platform as a respected authority to encourage other women to pursue a career in the industry.
Laying a strong academic foundation for her career, Ms. Kairouz earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence in securities law with a concentration in banking and technology from the University of La Verne College of Law, where her doctoral thesis focused on innovations in the banking sector and technology, specifically digital assets and blockchain, concerning securities; and from where she received a leadership fellowship at the Terrence E. Deal Leadership Institute. She also holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University, which presented her with its Lindsay Scholar Award; and she has a Bachelor of Arts in economics with a concentration in finance from California State University, Northridge. A prolific writer, Ms. Kairouz has bylined articles in various local newspapers and authored academic papers and articles published in the University of La Verne Law Review, including, “The Elephant in the Room, the Black Swan, and the Grey Rhino: A Case for Applying Metaphors in Risk Management Leadership.” Some of her other titles include, “The Case Against California State Public Banking,” published in the Pacific Southwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business Journal of Law, Business, & Ethics; and “An Uncommon Team & Approach: Winning at Financial Health in 2021 and Beyond” and “For Today’s Market Investors, We Are All Leadoff Batters in the Age of COVID-19,” both in CORE Magazine.
At J.P. Morgan Private Bank,Ms. Kairouz manages balance sheets of the most influential, ultra-high-net-worth families often with $100 million or more in assets in the Los Angeles community. She provides multigenerational wealth management services for her clients and works with a dedicated team of professionals across all lines of business on facets of wealth planning, including trust estates, philanthropy, succession planning, credit advisory, investment portfolio management, and day-to-day banking. Ms. Kairouz plans to stay on a leadership track at the firm to continue to have a positive impact and is determined to align her wealth management expertise with her legal background interest in innovative technology. Before joining J.P. Morgan in 2020, she held key positions at Wells Fargo Private Bank as a wealth adviser, vice president, regional private banker, and other roles in some of California’s most affluent areas including Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air, and Pacific Palisades, after stints as a licensed relationship manager for Wells Fargo Bank N.A., and a personal banker at Citi.
The highlight of Ms. Kairouz’s professional career came, ironically, during a global low point—the 2008 financial crisis that hit the banking industry especially hard. Employed by a different bank at the time, she assured her clients that their assets were protected thanks to the strength of the firm coupled with her own expertise, dedication, and ability to manage the firm’s wealth by making decisions that held a long-range view rather than being dictated by the market condition. Another pivotal point in her professional journey required her team to maintain the faithful stewardship and trust of her client base while working for a financial institution that was the subject of critical headlines. A more recent defining moment during the COVID-19 pandemic involved Ms. Kairouz helping families to navigate transitions by ensuring that their balance sheets were well-positioned and that they had access to external advisers for tax and estate planning.
Ms. Kairouz attributes her achievements to her role model parents who immigrated from Lebanon and instilled in her their work ethic, willingness to learn, the importance of charity, and that success is in direct proportion to perseverance. Proud of the solid relationships she has formed with clients, she believes that the care she received from her parents easily translates into her own ability to provide genuine care in managing her clients’ wealth. For Ms. Kairouz, the industry has unlimited rewards for people who work hard and have a passion for finance. She also gives credit to excellent mentors, sponsors, and coaches who shepherded her career. In turn, she enthusiastically gives back through civic and volunteer endeavors with various organizations, including yet not limited to the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society chapter that she founded, the Young Musicians Foundation, the Opera League of Los Angeles, the United States Navy SEAL Museum, and American Corporate Partners.