Published Articles

Straddling The Fence

SuperUser Account posted on May 01, 2011

By Lee Conrad

May 1, 2011


Being the boss brings a host of challenges. Notably, the manager's interests are not necessarily aligned with the interests of those workers in the trenches—or the company for that matter. Nowhere is this truer than in the advisory world. Consider the situation when advisors leave. They want to take clients with them; the company doesn't want them to. To be sure, clients don't follow advisors in the bank channel nearly as often as they do their brokerage-based brethren. But that's obviously the ultimate goal.

And sometimes, worlds collide. Some lucky soul gets to straddle the fence between management and the trenches, feeling the opposing pressures from each side. That's what makes our cover story this month so interesting. A veritable case study in management strategy, our annual Top 20 Program Managers, highlights the best leaders in the bank channel, many of whom are also producing advisors.

There are some common themes, such as successful managers who play to the strengths of the individuals on their teams, the need for good hiring practices and the angst caused by compliance issues. But there are some unique points as well: one manager's team advises former CIA employees, another competes in triathlons and another says his kids helped make him become a better manager.

It's not just our Top 20 who offer a dose of management and motivation advice. An article by industry consultant Paul Werlin, "The Art of Coaching," dovetails with the issues raised in our cover story. Canny coaching is just as important for an advisory team as it is for a sports team, Werlin says. One trick is in asking the right questions. Asking "How are things going?" will garner a different response from "What new sales idea is working?" Which one of these questions do you think Werlin suggests is the better one?

But the entire issue is not just given over to managers. We couldn't ignore our main audience, so we have some nuggets for advisors too. First, longtime contributor Rick Rummage has some nuts-and-bolts advice on how to succeed. Not one for platitudes, Rummage will tell you how and where to network, and when and why to start building a team. Read "Creating a Plan for Success." And in our BIC survey story, learn what your colleagues in the industry are saying is crucial to your success, but not handled well by your employers.

Enjoy this issue of Bank Investment Consultant and please send me your thoughts, comments or suggestions at Your feedback is always appreciated.