In a conscious effort to acknowledge the importance of advisor assistants—in this case, an executive assistant who saved her firm after the founder’s tragic sudden death–Securities America has chosen Amanda Silkwood of Quintus Financial Services in Englewood, Colo., as the Assistant of the Year for 2011.
Silkwood (left), who assists advisors Dan O’Leary, Chet Wallace and Brian Peters, will be honored at the Securities America National Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, taking place June 9-12. She has worked in the financial services industry for more than a decade and currently serves on Securities America’s Sales Assistant Advisory Board.
When O’Leary joined Quintus in 2010, he said he was told that one of the best benefits of the firm would be having “the greatest assistant in the world”–namely, Amanda Silkwood. When the office in February 2011 suffered the sudden loss of its founder, Grier Laughlin, in a car accident, Silkwood’s knowledge of Laughlin’s client base and dedication to furthering his practice were essential in helping Quintus carry on, O’Leary said.
“While many successful advisors owe a lot of their success to their assistants, I can honestly say that Quintus Financial Services would not be here today if not for the hard work and dedication of Amanda Silkwood,” O’Leary said in a statement.
In a phone interview with AdvisorOne, Silkwood said her favorite part of working at Quintus is her interaction with the people, both clients and advisors. She credits her organizational abilities and time management skills as helping her keep up with the demands of her job.
Asked where she sees herself in five years, Silkwood answered modestly: “This firm that Grier started was really important to him. He brought in all of us, me and three advisors, for a reason. We’re all honest and ethical, and we work together as a team. That’s my focus now–trying to continue.”
Any ambitions of becoming an advisor herself are not in the cards for now, though Silkwood wouldn’t rule it out in the future.
“I don’t know that it will happen right now, but it’s definitely a possibility,” she said.
To qualify as Assistant of the Year, candidates must be nominated by a Securities America advisor, have a minimum of two years of experience in the financial services industry and, if securities licensed, have a clean compliance record. The top assistant also is selected based on specific instances of service above and beyond expectations to clients, advisors and the firm, along with demonstrated leadership abilities and personal and professional development.
Quintus Financial Services was founded in 2008 and maintains approximately 200 client relationships nationwide. Financial advisors and registered representatives associated with Quintus offer services through Securities America Advisors Inc., a division of Securities America Inc.
Headquartered in La Vista, Neb., Securities America Inc. is the nation’s seventh largest independent broker-dealer. Its belief in developing the potential of sales assistants extends to a number of events and training opportunities:
- New Assistant Orientation–a guide containing information every support staff member should know
- Assistant University–a two-day conference designed to increase knowledge of technology, compliance, operations and practice management for all levels of support staff
- e*Certification–a web-based training program that covers industry, product and firm-specific topics in a cost-effective and convenient format
- Sales Assistant Advisory Board – a group of nine assistants, nominated by advisors and selected by Securities America, who provide suggestions and feedback on company improvements
- National Conference–an annual educational event that features a training track specifically tailored to assistants
- AssistantXpert–a listserv created specifically for assistants to provide online peer support and knowledge sharing
- Fast Track–free daily training sessions on Securities America’s technology and procedures that are ideal for assistants and office managers