Pershing Highlights: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Amy Cuddy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the former Seinfeld star, admitted her investment approach is “much more conservative than it should be,” and social psychologist Amy Cuddy presented a simple two-minute pose that can dramatically improve advisors’ energy and confidence. Those were two of the highlights from the general sessions at the Pershing INSITE Conference on June 7th and 8th in Orlando, Florida.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s unique financial outlook

Successful career risk-takers aren’t necessarily risk-tolerant investors. Just ask actress and comedienne Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

In a live interview conducted on June 8th by Mark Tibergien, chief executive officer of Pershing Advisor Solutions, Louis-Dreyfus, best known for playing Elaine on Seinfeld, revealed that she is very conservative with her money and not very knowledgeable about investments.

“I keep most of it in a checking account, and the rest in a box under my bed,” she quipped.

Even though her net worth is estimated at $200 million, she admitted that her cautious approach reflects the risky nature of her chosen profession.

“In show business, you can make a lot of money one year and not so much the next, so my investment approach is probably much more conservative than it should be,” she said.

Louis-Dreyfus and her husband, actor Brad Hall, are serious practitioners of values-based investing.

“We’re both very committed to environmental issues and to social justice, and these beliefs set the parameters for how and where we invest,” she said.

While she said she had several advisors managing her wealth, she is open to considering what other advisors have to say, although she doesn’t necessarily trust their integrity.

“I’m always interested in hearing what the next new cool thing is. I will admit that I’m no expert myself, so I’m the perfect person to rip off,” she said.

Never shy about taking on controversial subjects in her various roles, she is particularly proud of the way her current HBO series, Veep, has poked fun at the financial industry.

On the show Louis-Dreyfus plays controversial President of the United States Selina Meyer, a morally ambivalent character whose ruthless political aspirations and tangled personal life result in disastrous decisions for the nation and herself.

In the most recent season, she faces a “too big to fail” banking crisis similar of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. But her fiduciary duty as commander-in-chief is jeopardized by an insurmountable personal conflict of interest.

“She is given a choice of which big banks to save, one of which is run by her current romantic interest, a Jamie Dimon-type CEO. If she bails his bank out, she’ll be smeared for helping out her boyfriend. If she doesn’t, the bank’s failure will have dire circumstances for the economy,” she said.

On a more serious note, Louis-Dreyfus, who experienced gender inequality during much of her early career, still considers this an issue today. Louis-Dreyfus commented on a letter written by actress Jennifer Lawrence, in which the Hunger Games star admitted that she sometimes accepted lower salaries than her male co-stars because she “wanted to be liked.” Louis-Dreyfus said that this capitulation was symptomatic of a business environment with too few women in positions of power.

But she also blamed Lawrence’s legal and business advisors for not giving her the emotional support she needed, a criticism that financial advisors should take to heart.

“When you’re involved in any big business venture, you create your own team of lawyers, agents, publicists and other advisors. While you do have to look out for yourself, it is the responsibility of your team to give you good advice,” she said.

“If your advisors aren’t putting your best interests first, it’s time to find people who will.”