WealthManagement.com.: Why did you want to become a branch manager at such an early point in your career?
Andrew Evans: I feel I’m better with the individual financial services practice owner than I am with the individual client. A lot of the time, reps are not really wired to run a business. I could ask any of my reps right now, ‘Run for me a cost-volume-profit analysis on their business right now.’ And they’re going to look at me and say, ‘What?’ and have no idea what I’m talking about. But these are the things I know, the things I’m good at.
WM: Field development and supervision are perhaps two of your bigger areas of responsibility, but what does that look like on a day-to-day basis?
AE: Wirehouse and old insurance agencies and even some independent broker/dealers still see [the] compliance manager as simply a cog in the wheel. And then you have the sales manager, whose job is to get the reps to sell more. What I have is a balance of the two.
WM: How does the recruitment process work?
AE: I’ll get a lead that an advisor is unhappy. I give them a call and typically ask two questions: ‘Where does it hurt?’ And, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And they start talking and I find out more about their business. Because of my experience in compliance—approving paperwork and email review—I can also sniff out if this is someone I want associated with me or not. If they say ‘Where I’m feeling pain is my b/d giving me guff over the variable annuity restrictions,’ I know in the back of my mind that his business is likely 95 percent VAs. Then I might ask some questions around it to see what opportunities I have not only to bring that person on, but also reshape that practice. If the answers aren’t good, I’ll maintain them as a friend, but they may go to another firm or branch.
WM: What happens once they’re brought onboard?
AE: We go through the painstaking process of transition. Transition is terrible. We’re a pilot group with Docupace to do full electronic, paperless transitions to port over a book of business. Even with that in place, it still sucks. But I’ll be there, and as I’m helping them I can look through their book and see what kind of assets they hold and the demographics of their book, and then talk to the rep to improve their long-term business strategies. This is a good time to do that.