Woodbury Financial Services
500 Bielenberg Drive; Woodbury, MN 55125
Number of Back-Office Employees: 259
Number of advisors: 1,700
Total Client Assets Under Management: $3.97 billion
Advisors' Average Length of Service (in industry): N/A
Total Revenue 2007: $270.2 million
Revenue from Commissions 2007: $237.6 million
Revenue from Fees 2007: $13.9 million
Average AUM per Rep: $2.3 million
Average Payout per Rep: 90%
Average Production per Rep: $143,000
Number of Dually Registered Reps: 597
Registered Rep.: Why would a wirehouse rep want to leave his firm to join yours?
Walter White: The opportunity to own your own business and build equity based on your own hard work. We wrap everything — including competitive products, technology, and service — into a culture of relationships and personal support, so independence does not result in isolation.
RR: Other than your own, of course, which other independent broker/dealers are you impressed with and why?
WW: Firms that share Woodbury's belief in the importance of independent, objective, local registered representatives. Two firms I particularly admire are Commonwealth and Cambridge.
RR: Least favorite compliance rule?
WW: Although well-intentioned, the voluminous nature of client disclosures has compromised their effectiveness.
RR: Are your affiliated advisors fee-based or mostly commission/transaction advisors?
WW: Our revenue is primarily commission-based, but fee-based products are our fastest growing revenue source.
RR: How many of your reps are dually registered? Is that number growing or not?
WW: 950, a 26-percent increase from March of last year.
RR: The most expensive aspect of running your independent broker/dealer firm in 2007?
WW: Providing an exceptional package of tools, support, and incentives to recruit and retain strong field relationships.
RR: Your recruiting goals through 2008 and beyond?
WW: Targeted growth. Woodbury seeks reps who want to build sustainable businesses, maintain long-term client relationships across a broad range of financial-service needs, and have an interdependent relationship with the home office.
RR: What are you thoughts on upfront bonuses?
WW: It is difficult and expensive to switch b/ds; some form of transition support from the new firm is often warranted.
RR: The ideal advisor is? (Three words or less.)
WW: Independent, objective, local.
RR: Biggest challenge in 2008 for the independent channel and your firm?
WW: Continuing to grow rapidly, but maintaining a culture of high-touch, interactive field relationships.
RR: The best technology investment your firm has made?
WW: Web services we developed for recruiting purposes and supporting Woodbury reps.
RR: Best advice you can give a wirehouse rep thinking about going independent?
WW: Focus on long-term vision and benefits for your business, but prepare to overcome some unforeseen challenges. Don't be overly distracted by the noise and uncertainty of short-term issues.
RR: What challenges will you face over the next five years?
WW: Maintaining our culture. Helping reps understand the distinction between a sustainable business and a rewarding vocation, including the need to develop a succession plan.
RR: If you could meet one business-related figure, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you ask?
WW: Leon Leonwood Bean, the founder of L.L.Bean. How do you remain competitive in a changing market without compromising core values?
RR: In 10 years, your firm will be?
WW: The best choice for financial advisors seeking independence, sustainable growth, high-touch support, and most importantly, an opportunity to affiliate with their most accomplished peers in the industry.
RR: A book every financial advisor should read?
WW: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.