Summary by Roger Wohlner
We recently had a chance to talk with Lon Dolber, CEO of American Portfolios, a member of the ThinkAdvisor Luminaries class of 2021. Dolber and American Portfolios were named as award winners in five categories including:
- Products, Programs & Services – Other (Deal Making and Growth Luminaries)
- Products, Programs & Services (Executive Leadership Luminaries)
- Products, Programs & Services – Broker-Dealers (Thought Leadership & Education Luminaries)
- Programs, Products & Services – Broker-Dealers (Diversity and Inclusion Luminaries)
- Individuals – Broker Dealers (Executive Leadership Luminaries)
Lon told us that American Portfolios is an independent broker-dealer with 800 advisors and 400 branch offices. The firm started 2001. Their first day in business, which ended up not being their first day in business, was September 11th, 2001.
Lon indicated that his reason for going into this business was to help Americans achieve their various financial goals. American Portfolios does this by supporting independent financial advisors in private practice, giving them the tools they need to do the best job for their clients.
Lon emphasized in our conversation that the firm’s employees come first, period. He added that all of the firms’ stakeholders are important, but he starts with his employees because they run the business. If you treat your employees well, they will go to the end of the world for your customer, in this case the advisors that American Portfolios serves.
The firm was prepared to go fully remote once COVID hit and true to his employee first mantra, none of American Portfolio’s employees had to endure any sort of financial hardships as a result of the pandemic.
Lon also discussed the firm’s paperless initiative. This has been a firm wide effort to reduce the use of paper in internal and external correspondence. The environment is important to Lon and he feels that more companies will be judged on their ESG efforts so this just made sense to him.
Lon also discussed his firm’s commitment to funding a program for young people in Ferguson to pursue their interest in the arts and providing these students with training in financial literacy as well. This combines two of Lon’s passions.
Lon also discussed his efforts to bring in a number of executives who are 10-15 years younger than him, allowing for an orderly succession plan when it is time for him to move on.