Amanda Gift is a Shareholder and Client Strategist at Signature. Amanda advises clients and provides comprehensive, customized solutions for estate planning, philanthropic strategies, asset allocation, and portfolio construction.
Amanda has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, having been an adviser at American Express before joining Signature in 2002.
Amanda is a community volunteer and has enjoyed working with various organizations over the years. She is currently a Director and Chair of Programs for Access College Foundation and is a Tocqueville Society Cabinet Member of the United Way of South Hampton Roads. She is a past Chair of The Up Center and a past Board member of the James Madison University Alumni Board of Directors. has previously served as a Board member of the Virginia Stage Company and as Past President of the Financial Planning Association Hampton Roads. She sits on the Advisory committee for Grace Bible Church, and also serves as a volunteer in their Adoption and Foster Care Ministry.
Amanda received a bachelor ‘s degree in Finance from James Madison University and is a graduate of the LEAD Hampton Roads program.
Amanda’s hobbies include scuba diving, swimming, reading, and cooking, but spending time with her husband and four young children is her favorite hobby.
What do you do for Signature clients?
I’m a partner who helps wealthy families build their legacy—whatever “legacy” means for them. It could be establishing a portfolio that transfers through two or three generations. It could be establishing a charitable legacy. It could be raising amazing children. All of our clients come to us for different reasons. We navigate them through every aspect of life.
What do you love about wealth management?
Developing creative plans and sharing new ideas with our community of clients. And my relationships with the clients themselves
What qualities make you best suited to do what you do?
Taking the time to get to know our clients and allowing them to get to know me. By developing strong and genuine relationships, I can make it easier for clients to talk about hard things. I can develop creative plans that really matter to them, rather than bore them with ideas that don’t resonate.
How does teamwork contribute to your success?
At Signature, we have a lot of institutional knowledge. I’m not an expert of private aviation, for example, but several of my colleagues are. We have wonderful shared knowledge that our clients get access to.
What is your favorite thing about working at Signature?
Being able to co-create with clients, if they’re game for it, because we get everything perfect behind the scenes. Administration, portfolio development—we execute those things flawlessly. That frees up the client to explore new ideas, and we can help them go where they want to go. For example, I have a client who gets excited about philanthropy. For him, it’s not about mission statements; it’s about random acts of kindness. Being able to change individual lives in really meaningful ways.
Last year, when I was on the board of the largest human services organization in Virginia, I had a conversation with the CEO and told her that if she had needs that fit my clients’ parameters, I knew he would love to write checks.
Well, that’s not the way that organization typically operates. But it just so happens that the need arose. A single mother, working full-time to support a son with deep mental health issues, became unexpectedly homeless through no fault of her own. She gives everything to her child, yet here he is getting worse because they’re forced to live out of a hotel. The CEO of the organization determined that if they provided a certain amount of support, they could get the family back on their feet in six months. I asked my client if it was a fit, and he said, “Absolutely, but let’s double the amount.” We sent a wire that day.
This is what gets my client super excited. And because he knows we’re taking care of the whole picture of his wealth, because we’re doing what we have to do, he gets to do what he wants to do.
What does Signature do differently from other firms?
In the public markets, portfolio construction is a commodity. If you can find it on Google, and that’s all you need, then you don’t need Signature. But what gets lost in a Google search is the power of decades of collective experience. The combined expertise, that collective knowledge that allows me to tell a client, “I’ve seen your situation before. Here’s what you can expect, and here’s what may be unexpected.” Not only that, but as a collective, we’re able to connect the dots between the smartest minds in specific niches throughout our extended networks—all for the benefit of our clients.
For example, we had a client poised to realize substantial value on his business. An attorney in our network gave us an idea for how to transfer that wealth to the clients’ children before the value was even realized, so he wouldn’t need to pay estate tax or gift tax. That’s the kind of collaboration that leads to better outcomes and a much more satisfying relationship for all of us.
What do you wish more people understood about their wealth?
That you get the choose the kind of relationship you want to have with your wealth. Whatever level of engagement feels right for you, however much or little you want, we can help you experience that.
Do you use your finance background outside of Signature?
I love using my skills to support my community. Right now, that means I act as Chair of the Board of Directors for The UP Center, the largest and oldest human services agency in Hampton Roads. I’ve also served as a Board member of the Virginia Stage Company and as Past President of the Financial Planning Association Hampton Roads.
What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?
My husband, four children, and dogs. We have three sons and a daughter we adopted from China two years ago. They are my delight.
What do you love to do outside of work?
Scuba diving, swimming, and hiking. I love spending time with my family and bringing them along when I go exploring.
- Named one of the Top 100 New Financial Advisors at American Express
- Using my skills to serve as President or Board Member of organizations I care about, including the Financial Planning Association, Virginia Stage Company, The Up Center, and James Madison University
- Named one of Hampton Roads’ Top 40 Under 40 in 2010
Education & Accreditations
- B.S. in Finance, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
- LEAD Program graduate, Hampton Roads, VA
- Chair of the Board of Directors, The UP Center
- Board Member, Virginia Stage Company
- President, Financial Planning Association Hampton Roads