Independent broker-dealer The Investment Center added 12 advisors to its team of 274 investment and financial advisors during the second quarter 2018, increasing its AUM by $500 million, the company stated. Since July 2017, AUM has increased by $1.1 billion, bringing total AUM to $7.3 billion.

CEO Ralph DeVito attributed the growth to several factors, including “strong” recruiting, technology updates, back-office service, marketing support and a coaching program, he said in a  statement. In addition, the firm has worked at expanding its Women Advisors Group.

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Culture seems to be the key ingredient for new advisors’ decision to join the independent broker-dealer. “When we visited The Investment Center home office and met the entire team, I knew immediately that we’d found our home. The people and the culture are unique in the industry and we look forward to a long, successful relationship with the firm,” said Victoria Tomaro, founder and managing director of the Tomaro Financial Group LLC, who joined the firm a few months ago.

She told ThinkAdvisor she had been with her previous broker-dealer 41 years but decided to take her firm a different direction. She started the search by reviewing seven firms and after much “thoughtful consideration,”  they decided on The Investment Center. “When we first went up there, everyone was so happy to work there,” she said. “And it wasn’t an act. It was refreshing as you don’t always see that.”