Cambridge Investment Research President & CEO Amy Webber tells advisors that the fundamentals of growing their practices and working with clients haven’t changed: “It’s trust. You have to adapt to the rest, but trust is the hard work and you can do this. Gen X needs you even if they don’t know it,” she recently tweeted.
The executive also believes that happy associates “make happy clients.” Webber says the firm nurtures the importance of giving back and “taking care of your own.” If one of Cambridge’s 700-plus employees has a health problem or emergency, “It’s amazing to watch how quickly our organization pulls together as a family. That’s a part of our culture,” she explained last year.
In addition, the firm supports the communities in which it does business. “We have … Cambridge Community Kindness Matching Gifts and Dollars for Doers for employees and for our [3,000-plus] financial professionals,” Webber explained.
Securities America President & CEO Jim Nagengast says he and his colleagues are “big believers in coaching, because when you get better everyone around you gets better.” The broker-dealer, which supports about 2,200 independent reps, started its educational conference for support staff, Assistant University, 20 years ago.
During the 2008-2009 financial crisis and other rough moments, Nagengast says he learned that goodwill pays off. “Always make deposits of good- will with employees and business partners, and during tough times they will stick with you,” he explained.
HD Vest Financial Services CEO Bob Oros is a strong supporter of innovation, but that doesn’t mean the firm’s 4,000 independent reps need to make “big leaps” as incremental innovation is just fine: “Advisors should ask themselves, do you have a systemic approach to constantly getting better? Are you willing to take a risk by trying things that may or may not work?” he said.
Oros suggests FAs assign special projects to more junior and diverse staff, “who will bring different thinking,” develop an advisory board that includes leaders in different industries, and bring in college interns for “fresh thinking and fresh ideas.”