Beyond the Bio - Susan Blaylock

What was your career ambition when you were growing up?

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed numbers, how they work together, and what we can learn about the world from them.  By the time I started high school, I knew I wanted to incorporate the language of math into my career. But that doesn’t narrow it down much! At that point, I was excited about fields as different as research in infectious disease and business.

The defining moment occurred in high school when my accounting teacher, a CPA, included his students in working with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that helped people from underserved populations prepare their tax returns. It was eye-opening and hugely rewarding to take skills we had learned in the classroom and put them into practice helping people with real-life problems. Clients of the program were often people who were overwhelmed and frightened by trying to understand their taxes and might not otherwise have filed a return. On several occasions, we were able to help a client to understand that they were owed a refund (often under the Earned Income Credit) worth more than a month’s salary. I found it extremely rewarding to apply my skills and expertise, especially at such a young age, to help people and add value to their lives. This experience helped start me on a path that led to a CPA of my own, and eventually to a career as a financial advisor.

Susan Blaylock

What brought you to the UK?

My partner is a scientist.  He had a career opportunity here, I had wanted to live in the UK for many years, and we made the move!

What do you miss most about the US?

The thing I truly miss the most is seeing friends and family in-person. I also miss special locations from the various places I’ve lived. I grew up in Colorado enjoying hiking in the mountains and eating burritos from my favourite small restaurant, Taco de Mexico. In college in Minnesota, I liked exploring the arboretum and reading in the library. Then I moved to DC and loved wandering through the Smithsonian Museums, especially the Freer Art Gallery. My final stop in the US was Seattle, where I enjoyed the clear days when Mt. Rainier was visible. I am incredibly thankful for technology as a way to reach across the distance and excited for the return of travel and visits in the future.

What is your favourite thing about living in the UK?

There’s something enchanting about seeing for myself places and people and things that I had only encountered in books, for example walking up Box Hill to the place where Jane Austen’s Emma had a picnic.  It’s such fun to make so many discoveries and connections.

NFL or Premiership?

Brentford Bees in SW London! They are part of the championship league, which is the second tier of the English football system.  I got to go to a game last January before the pandemic and looking back, that’s a highlight.  Come on you Bees!

What is the biggest issue affecting mixed Anglo-American families living in the UK?

Awareness, knowledge, and expert advice. You have to have awareness that there are additional tax considerations given that we’re subject to two tax jurisdictions who each have many complex rules! You have to have knowledge to understand how to efficiently navigate that complexity especially given that it’s subject to change. Finally, finding expert financial advisors can be challenging. Only a limited number of companies in the UK and the US have chosen to work with Americans living abroad because of the regulations and reporting complexities.

What is it you most enjoy about helping Anglo-American households?

Working at Tanager allows me to help people in a uniquely challenging situation. I provide information and guidance about financial constraints and opportunities so that people’s decisions can best meet their needs and goals.  It is extremely satisfying to me to know that I am helping people to achieve their life goals, to feel good about where they are today, and to have confidence in their future.

How is the pandemic affecting your work and the clients you serve?

Tanager has done a great job of transitioning smoothly to remote work. That’s been fortunate as the pandemic has caused a lot of people to prioritize getting on top of their finances. As a result, we’ve started many new relationships in the past year. All of my meetings have been via video or phone call since March 2020, and I now have clients who I have not yet met in person. The remote system has been working well, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing people in-person again!

What’s the last book you read?

I like reading a lot and have finished quite a few recently. Since I wish I could be having outdoor adventures, I have read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail about her hike of over a thousand miles up the West Coast through California to Washington. For a hike on the other coast, I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. Both of those keep the spirit of roaming the wild alive until I can hike again! In a different vein, a classic resource that I have returned to is Kate Fox’s Watching the English: the Hidden Rules of English Behaviour to help prep for re-entry into society.

Beatles or Beach Boys?

If I’m feeling nostalgic, the Beach Boys, otherwise the Beatles. When I was little, a good friend and I would create dance routines to songs (e.g. Wouldn’t it be nice?) by the Beach Boys and perform for our parents. It’s a good memory that I am reminded of whenever I hear those songs.

Tell me about someone who has inspired you and why?

Many people have inspired me, starting with my parents and grandparents, and continuing into my friendships. I have been inspired as they pursue a life meaningful to them. For example, my grandmother Marge. She started in an unusual way for a woman of her time by being a researcher and getting her PhD, after some time she took a teaching position, and finally she found her passion seeing patients and helping them with their problems. She’s written and published multiple books including work-related ones such as Sixty-Five Lively Ideas for Successful Aging and fun ones dedicated to or written with her grandchildren, Little Frog and the Sticky Pancake.

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Abbas Somji

Abbas Somji

PARTNER AND FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Abbas moved to London in early 2018 to be with his British wife. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Botswana, Abbas then migrated to Houston where he attended University. He began his professional career at an RIA in Houston and holds the Series 65 license and US CFP® . He brings with him a decade of experience in advising High-Net-Worth clients and business owners. Abbas is a Partner and Advisor and ensures he’s helping clients navigate the complicated world of being an expat in the UK. He particularly enjoys providing clients with the clarity and confidence to pursue their financial goals. A sports enthusiast, Abbas enjoys conversing about and playing soccer/football and attending Liverpool matches.

Read more… Abbas Somji, Beyond the Bio

 

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Alistair Jackson

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Alistair joined the team at Tanager in 2019 following his completion of an MPhil in English at the University of Cambridge as a John Crook Scholar. With three years of experience working across our Investment and Financial Planning teams, Alistair transitioned to the Advisor Team in January 2022. His time is now focused on the production and implementation of robust planning and investment strategies for our clients on either side of the Atlantic. Outside of the office, Alistair’s time is divided between exploring East London’s many food markets, spending time with friends and family, and travelling abroad.

 

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David Costello

PARTNER AND FINANCIAL ADVISOR

David arrived in the UK on New Year’s Day 2014 and brought with him fifteen years’ experience advising private clients and business owners. He attained the U.S. Certified Financial Planner designation in 2007. David specialises in building financial plans for UK based households that include US taxpayers and is tirelessly committed to helping Tanager clients maximise their wealth and achieve their stated goals and objectives while navigating the US/UK tax and investment landscape. David is a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor and is active in volunteering and fund raising for the support toward the treatment and eradication of blood cancers.

Read more… David Costello, Beyond the Bio

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Gail Hamilton King

Gail Hamilton- King

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Gail joined Tanager in 2021 as a financial advisor with more than fifteen years of experience in senior investment banking and management consulting roles at Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank. She enjoys leveraging her financial experience to make a tangible difference for Americans living in the UK by helping to manage their complex finances globally. Gail moved to the UK from Chicago to complete an MBA at London Business School. As a dual UK/US family living in west London, she understands the challenges our clients face.

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Jeff Hedges

SENIOR PARTNER AND FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Jeff is a founding Partner of the firm and serves as a Senior Financial Advisor. For the past twenty years, he has managed the investment needs of high-net-worth US families living in the United Kingdom. Combining cross border know-how with an extensive international network, Jeff delivers robust solutions for his clients. He graduated from Colgate University and from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where he met his wife. Jeff spent a year at Charterhouse in high school. Jeff has three grown sons and a daughter. He is a history buff, avid footie supporter and likes to spend his holidays in eastern North Carolina.

 Read more… Jeff Hedges, Beyond the Bio

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Jeremy Bailey

SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Jeremy joined the Tanager team in 2019 bringing fifteen years of experience in helping clients align their finances with what is most important to them. He specialises in retirement income strategies and multigenerational planning. Jeremy decided to leverage his US/UK dual citizenship status to relocate to London in 2017. He quickly identified the breadth of financial challenges faced by Americans and US connected families living and working abroad. Jeremy comes to London via Cleveland Ohio and Miami Florida. In his free time, he enjoys running the Thames path, spending time outdoors, and travelling.

 

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Kristopher Heck

MANAGING PARTNER

Kristopher has lived in London since 2007 and combined his ten plus years of experience in the Institutional Asset Management Industry in the US and Europe and personal experiences as an expat to found Tanager. A founding partner and Chief Investment Officer, Kris has been a guest lecturer at the London School of Economics and has particular interest and experience in portfolio efficiency – encompassing tax, cost, and the optimal risk budgeting of a client’s assets. Kristopher is as avid fan of the Baltimore Orioles and enjoys going back to Maryland whenever he is able to.

 

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Kyle Pettigrove

PARTNER AND FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Kyle is a Certified Financial Planner ™ (CFP ®) and joined Tanager in London in 2016 having moved to the UK with his fiancée. A US/UK dual citizen and Philadelphia native, Kyle previously worked as a financial advisor in the US specializing in retirement planning. Now spearheading Tanager’s stateside office in Philadelphia, Kyle brings both relevant personal and professional experience to his role and covers the areas of pensions for US residents, British expats and transatlantic families living in the US. Outside of his work life, Kyle is an avid traveller and craft beer enthusiast.

Read more… Kyle Pettigrove, Beyond the Bio

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Nicole Ralph

Nicole Ralph

SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Nicole joined the Tanager team in 2020 and brings over fifteen years of senior leadership and client experience in helping US expats and foreign nationals relocating to the US. Nicole has held the CFP® designation since 2011 and earned an MBA from the Wisconsin School of Business in 2016. As a dual US/UK citizen herself, she is intimately aware of the complex challenges facing families, having moved back and forth three times with her own family. She now lives in Hove with her husband and youngest daughter. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dog along the seafront, hot yoga, learning Italian and travelling.

Read more… Nicole Ralph, Beyond the Bio

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Patrick Mulhern

PARTNER AND FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Born and raised in New Hampshire, Patrick moved to Scotland at seventeen to study at the University of St. Andrews and has been picking up knowledge of life on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. A Partner and Financial Advisor, he specializes in complex planning for high-net-worth clients, international estate planning and inheritance issues. Prior to working in Financial Planning, he worked for a trust and estate law firm and co-wrote the book Estate Planning to Die For. Patrick lives in Sussex with his wife and children. He gets back to New England as often as possible and is one mountain short of having hiked all 4,000 Footers of the White Mountains.

Read more… Patrick Mulhern, Beyond the Bio

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Susan Blaylock

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Susan joined Tanager in 2019 upon moving to London. She is a Financial Advisor and has over a decade of experience in the financial services industry, mainly as a CPA. What she loves about financial planning is the opportunity to help people understand and achieve the financial goals that are most important to them. She enjoys the challenge of working with the complex situations of US expats. Susan shares Tanager’s philosophy of developing strong relationships with clients and gaining a deep understanding of their financial situations and life goals. Outside of work, Susan enjoys exploring, including hiking in the Alps, canyoning, kayaking London’s canals, cycling, and spending time with friends and family.

Read more… Susan Blaylock, Beyond the Bio

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Tori Bown

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Tori joined Tanager in May of 2022 after moving to London in late 2021 to join her English Husband. Prior to joining Tanager, Tori worked in Dallas, Texas for a large wealth management firm for over five years where she specialized in financial planning for high net worth clients. As a Certified Financial Planner ™ , she’s developed a holistic approach to wealth management that incorporates all aspects of a person’s financial life. Tori enjoys helping clients define and achieve their financial goals by enabling them to put context around their finances.

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