There's a new face at Wachovia Securities' Park Avenue branch in New York. The office at 250 Park (between East 46th and 47th streets) is now being led by William Thomas, 36, formerly of Merrill Lynch. He signed on as a resident manager of the branch in February, solidifying Wachovia's New York City market team, formed initially in late September 2005. Wachovia has identified 40 major U.S. markets and organized 12 major-market offices so far for its private-client operations.
"We needed a change, and to get into growth mode, we needed a shot in the arm," explains Richard Frick, 35, who serves as the New York market manager. Thomas
"is a great coach, and he's aggressive when he needs to be," says Frick.
Thomas helped lead a team of some 175 reps at a Merrill Lynch office in Morristown, N.J. The office has reportedly been a top-10 market for Merrill, bringing in some $75 million in yearly sales.
The greater New York area accounts for some $3 billion in annual brokerage sales. That represents a "tremendous opportunity for Wachovia," says Frick. But at the branch offices, "We were spending too much time on paperwork, brand management and other issues," he explains.
Enter the major-market team. In cooperation with four compliance staff members, a productivity manager and an assistant, Frick is pooling Wachovia's Big Apple resources "to get the job done," he says. This group supports the work of Wachovia's 235 New York-based advisors, who work out of six main offices and one satellite branch bringing in a total of about $130 million in yearly revenues. Most offices produce more than $23 million each in a 12-month period.
"The recruits are excited about this approach," Frick explains. "We tell them, 'We have six offices in the city. Where do you want to go?' This is a story that no one else is telling. It means our office on Sixth Avenue doesn't have to fight over recruits with the office on Lexington."
By centralizing certain tasks at the major-markets level in New York and other cities, branch or resident managers can spend less time on recruiting, compliance, marketing and branch supervision -- and more time on productivity and client-account management. "It's working, and it will continue to work," concludes Frick.