In the two-and-a-half years since he became CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions (PAS), the custody arm of Pershing LLC, part of Bank of New York/Mellon, Mark Tibergien said there had been a 20% increase in staff, including a 20% increase in customer service, which served the company, and its affiliated advisors, well during the financial and markets crisis.

“Pershing has a core culture of longevity,” Tibergien said in an exclusive interview on Thursday, June 10, at the Pershing Insite conference in south Florida, “but is open to new ideas” from people like himself, producing a culture that embraces “energy and longevity at the same time.”

Some of that new staff comes from its competitors in the RIA custody business, for whom “we have a lot of respect.” While some of those hires leave due to unhappiness, most move to “join something” that they find appealing. Acknowledging that “in this space, most advisors are multi-custodian,” he said “custody is a commoditized business,” and while each of the major custodians has its own specializations, Tibergien argued that its major competitors were built on retail platforms, while “we have a business-to-business model” without a retail presence. “We respect our competitors, but trying to do [exactly] what they do would be a fool’s errand.

“We’re focused on growth-oriented advisors who have clients with complex financial lives,” saying that while the average PAS advisor has $150 million in assets under management (AUM), those who are joining Pershing now have an average of $250 million in AUM. The average end-client account at Pershing is $1.3 million, which Tibergien said is much higher than its competitors, and that most end-clients had several such accounts in the same household.

Those advisors, then, can take advantage of Pershing’s particular strengths in, for example, practice management, in its parent firm’s global reach–”We clear in 77 countries; and there are 17 countries represented at Insite”–in its access to fixed income products through a relationship with Barclays, and in its non-proprietary fund platform, which includes “133 money market sweep options.”

Summing up his experiences so far at Pershing, Tibergien said “we love the progress we’ve made, and love how the culture has transformed.”

Mark Tibergien is a regular contributor to Investment Advisor. You can read his column at InvestmentAdvisor.com.