Kyle Chudom, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Oak Brook, Ill.
While still a teenager, Kyle Chudom inherited an interest in investing from his father, an attorney. They shared The Wall Street Journal in the morning and charted stocks on family vacations. "There were very few people that knew as early on as I did what I wanted to do," Chudom says. "I found the capital markets very fascinating."
Yet as a college student, Chudom was disappointed when he sought an internship in the financial services field. "I went to the two local investment firms and offered to work for free," Chudom remembers. "They said, 'We can't think of anything that we have for you to do.'"
Chudom vowed to change that. Now, as a Morgan Stanley Dean Witter senior vice president in Oak Brook, Ill., he has. In addition to serving clients, he takes time to mentor interns. He has guided eight young people from local high schools and colleges so far.
One computer-savvy intern helped set up Chudom's network. He went on to get a job in the technology field. Another of his interns got a graduate degree and is working at a financial institution.
In addition to helping the younger generation launch their careers, Chudom helps older folks retire from theirs. His niche is retirement planning. "I don't think you can be a generalist," he says. "Find a niche and become an expert in that niche." He started by serving a number of retirees from a local telephone company. Word spread and other retirees signed on.
Along with five team members, Chudom manages about 300 million in assets, with 1998 production of 1.3 million. Often called on to address MSDW training classes, Chudom advocates the team approach. "I tell them that in order to become successful, a team is essential. The quicker you establish a team, the quicker you will be successful."
Chudom's broker partner is Curtis Loveday. One of the more unique positions on his team is marketing manager. Cliff McChesney helps grow the business through brochures and newsletters, such as "Kyle's Commentary," published once a quarter.
McChesney is working on a new project--report cards asking clients to grade their service. Prior to the report cards, McChesney conducted telephone surveys to gather information. One of the things Chudom uncovered was client dissatisfaction about their statements. So he joined the MSDW Statement Committee to effect changes.
His interest in continual improvement led Chudom to represent all Midwest reps on the MSDW Financial Advisor's Council in 1996. He was named chairman in 1997.
Back in his office, Chudom says he spends his day taking care of existing clients and talking to potential clients. "I really stress the educational process," he says. "I want to help people understand the choices they have. They are less intimidated that way."
One of Chudom's favorite aspects of the business is seeing or hearing about clients' joys. Flush with more retirement funds than he anticipated, a client drove over to show off his new, cherry red Corvette. Another client told Chudom about having enough money to take his grandchildren on a cruise.
"If I can help them earn 1% more than what they would have earned doing their own planning, it can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in their lifetime," Chudom says. "That's what makes this job rewarding. We can significantly impact the quality of lives."
Chudom is doing that both for the retirees who are his clients and for the interns who are his students.--Janis Samaripa
Outstanding Traits:"Kyle's patience and trust in my abilities gave me confidence to tackle bigger jobs while still learning in a safe environment."--former intern Mike Bowen, Chicago Heights, Ill.
"Kyle wrote many scenarios so we could understand how our investments would grow. He also informed us that there would be lean times and good times. The best thing is that Kyle is always there when one needs him."--client Francis Vinseck, Chicago