Born in Poland, Roman Sledziejowski moved to New York City in 1994. Looking back, Roman recalls that he was always interested in the world of investing and finance. He started dabbling in stocks on the Warsaw Stock Exchange with $800 saved and turned it into $18,000 in about three years. While most of his high school classmates in New York were focused on parties, Roman was paying attention to stock tickers. When he was 17 years old, Roman took a part-time job working for the investment bank Salomon Smith Barney, Member of Travelers Group where he worked part-time during his final year of high school.
After graduating with honors as the class valedictorian of his high school class, he began his studies at Columbia University in the field of Economics, while working full time at Smith Barney. He was the captain of the school’s varsity soccer team for his high school, playing the striker position, and he was awarded the most valuable player (MVP) distinction three years in a row. He also competed on his school’s varsity track and field team at various competitions throughout New York State.
It was probably inevitable that Roman’s career path would lead to Wall Street. When he was 18 he became the youngest National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) licensed stock broker in United States and began working full time as an Investment Associate at Smith Barney, Member of Citigroup, where he attracted the attention of the Wall Street Journal for his savvy networking skills and savvy ability to introduce investing to other first and second-generation Polish immigrants to the New York City. Before he could legally drink, Roman was managing over $40 million of other peoples’ money.
In 2006, Roman Sledziejowski launched an NYC-based financial holding company, called Innovest Holdings. The company operated through four main subsidiary companies: TWS Financial, LLC, a full-service broker dealer based in Washington, DC with over $500 million in annual market transactions, servicing primarily foreign high net worth individual clients and international financial institutions; TradeWallStreet.com, a fast-growing online Broker/Dealer platform catering to individual investors; TWS Investment Partners, LLC, a real estate investment and finance company with over $100 million in real estate projects; and TWS Capital Partners, LLC, an offshore investment advisor with assets under management exceeding $1 billion.
In 2007 Roman Sledziejowski co-founded MyPlace Development, Sp. Z o.o., a Poznan, Poland based real estate development company, together with Sebastian Kulczyk who served as the company’s CEO with Roman Sledziejowski and serving as MyPlace Development’s Chairman until early 2010. In December of 2009 RJS finalized the sale of his interest in MyPlace Development for $7.3 million in cash to Kulczyk Real Estate Holding SARL in Luxemburg.
After early success, TWS Financial, LLC experienced significant financial losses during the financial crisis of 2008, but Roman proved to be resilient and able to bounce back from setbacks.
In the years that followed the financial crisis, Roman was able to regain the success and achievement that he enjoyed throughout most of his professional career.
Roman Sledziejowski along with several colleagues he met over the years decided to bring their knowledge and experience toward helping other businesses navigate challenging times, and he started Savant Strategies, an international management consulting firm that provides management consulting services to middle-market companies primarily in Latin America, Europe, and South Africa.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Roman Sledziejowski and he was able to share some with our readers.
How is inflation and the current economic environment of rising interest rates, a strengthening dollar, and a projected recession affecting your business?
We do find ourselves in a rather unique economic environment and businesses in all industries are impacted greatly on many levels. Rising housing costs, surging energy prices, continued supply chain dislocations, the war in Ukraine, and a strong dollar are among many post-COVID challenges facing the global economy. For the management consulting industry in general, and Savant Strategies in particular, it only means that there is more work for us to do and our clients need more advice and concrete solutions now more than ever during these turbulent times. The complexity of the current economic climate is actually quite positive for our industry in terms of demand for our services.
What are your thoughts on remote work and hybrid work environments?
It is a very interesting subject especially with remote working becoming so dominant during the past few years as a result of the pandemic. A recent study showed that 87 percent of people when offered the chance to work in a flexible or hybrid work environment take it. Already, more than 58 percent of Americans are able to work remotely – at least part-time.
While certain industries lend themselves to remote or hybrid work environments we are noticing more and more the challenges faced by many of our clients with such arrangements. There is a quite noticeable drop in productivity and creativity of workers in many fields who work predominantly from home. This is a big problem, which I believe will force many companies to ask their employees to return to an office environment or possibly adapt a hybrid model with majority of work time being in an office environment. There are benefits to collaboration and team building that is only possible in a more traditional office setting, which is why many executives like Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon have spoken strongly against work from home arrangements and expect workers to be in the office. Even in the tech sector, an interesting internal survey revealed that 87 percent of Microsoft employees feel as though they are more productive while working from home, whereas 80 percent of Microsoft’s management thinks employees are less productive.
With that said, many industries lend themselves to remote working and the last few years demonstrated that it works quite well for them. In these instances, I believe that a fundamental change already occurred and many jobs will never return to an office setting.
What has been the biggest challenge for you leading the business during these past months? How did you overcome these challenges?
We have had mostly “good problems” recently. Savant Strategies’ services have been in high demand largely due to the complexities and uncertainties experienced by many businesses as a result of the pandemic and latest economic trends. We have been forced to make some tough decisions when it comes to choosing which clients we can provide most value to, while at the same time not engaging on assignments with new prospective clients.
What is your greatest career accomplishment?
It is really tough to say. I was able to accomplish quite a number of things during my career, but I strongly believe that the most significant accomplishments still lie ahead of me and this is what keeps me driven.