Shareholders Service Group, the unique San Diego-based RIA brokerage and custody firm, announced Wednesday that it had promoted Senior Vice President Dan Skiles to the position of president.
In an interview, Skiles said the promotion reflects the rapid growth of employee-owned SSG and his evolving role at the company, which Skiles joined from Charles Schwab & Co. in 2009 and which is led by Chairman and CEO Peter Mangan. “My role has been changing every day since I’ve been here, especially the past year as we’ve grown; it’s like the ownership saying that we have a new captain on the team.” (Skiles also writes a monthly column for Investment Advisor, The Technology Coach.)
At Schwab, Skiles was VP of Advisor Technology, but at SSG he has not only focused his efforts on tech but on helping SSG advisors with their business and investing issues. Now he will be doing the same for SSG itself. Skiles recalled that when he was thinking of leaving Schwab for SSG, he asked some advisor friends for their thoughts. “That was some of the great advice I got from them: to get involved with all aspects of the business.”
“When I joined SSG,” he recalled, “we had about 350-400 advisors; now we’re around 1,200.” Quoting Mangan, he says that while “the business has grown very nicely, we want to make sure from a management perspective that we have the bench to support the business.” He argues that looking at the experience and longevity of SSG’s management, “you’ll be impressed to see how long they’ve been working for RIAs and how long they’ve been at SSG; since I’ve been at the firm, we haven’t had an officer leave, which is unique in the business.”
While SSG has been adding staff at the level below top management, he says that “the management team has been consistent. The service is consistent because the person setting the tone [Peter Mangan] has been consistent.”
Skiles said that SSG’s business is “very personal—we don’t have a brand as SSG; our brand is the personal service we provide.” What about when there’s a service error or mistake? “Nothing is perfect, so you need the right bench to get things moving back in the right direction; we want to make advisors look great with their clients, and a lot of that is how you deal with curveballs” in service delivery.