Amy Webber started in the independent broker-dealer space when she was 18 years old.
“I had graduated from high school in a small town and the college that I attended had a work-study program. I ended up being placed in a very small broker-dealer in Wisconsin,” the now-CEO and president of Cambridge Investment Research said.
A month later in October 1987 the stock market crashed.
“I realized, even as an 18-year-old who knew nothing about nothing, that this business was not math and accounting,” Webber said. “It was about people and relationships and helping people. That was really what inspired me to fall in love with the industry way back then.”
She credits, in part, her early start in the industry as a reason for her passion to support the next generation of independent advisors.
“If I could bottle up the passion, the opportunities and everything that I’ve experienced and enjoyed personally over the last 25 or 30 years, we could have a lot more young people who want careers in this industry,” she said.
Drafting a Successful Succession Plan
Webber joined Cambridge in 1998 and has been president of the Fairfield, Iowa-based firm for a decade. In January, the independent broker-dealer announced that Webber would take over as CEO from chairman and then-CEO Eric Schwartz, who founded Cambridge 35 years ago and led the IBD world’s entry into fee-based compensation.
Cambridge has more than 3,000 independent registered representatives and nearly $80 billion assets under management.
Schwartz and Webber had been planning his succession for some years, so Webber’s move into the CEO role was just another day.
“In reality, I have probably been doing the job for 10 years,” she said.
Webber’s self-described personality is “to jump in and do what I love,” which she said often led to Schwartz empowering her along the way.