Registered Rep: Cheers! It is your 50th year with Davidson Companies. How have advisors changed in that time?
Ian Davidson: The entire investment business has changed. We have more investment advisors, they are more professional and it is more competitive.
RR: Your biggest career achievement?
ID: Being elected Chairman of the NASD in 1995 — at a time when the securities marketplace was in turmoil. Corporate governance of the NASD changed dramatically.
RR: One obstacle you overcame on the path to success?
ID: Convincing securities firms and brokers that a successful financial services firm can be headquartered in Great Falls, Montana. Now, being here is a great asset: lower cost, better service and lower turnover.
RR: One change you would make to the business?
ID:I would eliminate upfront payments to broker recruits; a positive, competitive corporate culture would be the biggest recruiting draw.
RR: Your greatest vacation?
ID:My wife and I flew around the world, and visited 12 or more unusual locations in 27 days.
RR: Advice for young advisors?
ID: Understand balance sheets and income statements; team up with a seasoned broker to learn the business.
RR: Innovation that has changed the face of the retail business?
ID: Technology has brought packaged financial products and strategies rather than basic stocks and bonds. I prefer the latter.
RR: Scariest run-in with the local wildlife?
ID: Wildlife is a joy in Montana. Unfortunately, hitting a deer and a packhorse on the roadway (on separate occasions) were scary and sad experiences.