Garry Shea and R.C. Roland, D.A. Davidson, Spokane, Wash.
You know Garry Shea and R.C. Roland are doing a good job when one of their first clients, Terry Anderson, a dentist, was able to take early retirement. You know they're doing something special when Anderson decided to become a broker and work at a desk alongside them. "They created the wealth for me to be able to do this," Anderson says.
Indeed, something special began 22 years ago when Shea and Roland teamed up to do seminars targeting dentists and physicians. They ended up partners. As senior vice presidents at D.A. Davidson in Spokane, Wash., they control 312 million in assets, producing nearly 2.6 million.
The idea for their niche came early. In the 1980s, Shea, a former stock analyst, was frustrated by the portfolios new clients were bringing to him. The portfolios were full of hard-to-value tax shelters and trendy investment strategies, which confused clients.
That's when Shea and Roland decided to build their reputation on offering clients better performance reporting. "It's been one of our best asset gathering tools over the years," Roland says. Adds Shea: "We decided to make the commitment that every client on every part of every account would have accurate performance reporting every quarter. We wanted to have no place to hide." They were one of the first to use Advent's Axys performance reporting system.
The partners say they spend up to 7% of their gross each year on improving service. They'll research every fund a new client brings to them, Shea says. "We send out capital gains and losses reports every year in time for clients to meet with their CPAs for tax preparation," Roland says.
In 1994, the partners moved to D.A. Davidson from the former Dain Bosworth, so they could customize their fees. "Fee structures often are based on active trading, but our clients have a dramatically lower level of activity," Shea says. A custom solution helps in a case where, for example, a business owner sells stock in his or her company and then makes many trades to reinvest the proceeds, but there's little activity after that. So Shea and Roland offer a higher fee for one year and a significantly lower fee for subsequent years. The partners apply fees to a client's total household assets, which increases the assets and lowers the fee.
Shea and Roland rarely work together with clients. "A client would tend to think Garry is more studious and conservative and I'm more aggressive," Roland says. "The reality is our approach to investing is identical."
Throughout their careers, Shea and Roland have done a lot of informal mentoring. Anderson and another broker have become informal partners. They share Shea and Roland's performance reporting systems, but maintain separate books.
Teaching is an important part of Shea and Roland's work in the Spokane community. Both are adjunct professors of finance at Gonzaga University. Shea has worked with the Spokane Symphony, helping create a program to donate 40,000 of instruments to needy students. He now handles the administration of the symphony as interim president. Roland helped start an AAU basketball program in Spokane in the late 1980s and served as a coach. He now spends his free time as stake mission president of the Mormon Church, overseeing 11 regions.
Both men advise reaching out to other reps. Shea says find top producers and ask, "If I came to town, could I spend two hours watching you in action?" Anderson better move over, company could be coming.--Pamela Savage Forbat
Outstanding Traits:"Garry does well with a variety of clients. He does a great job with my parents and I can send him my teenager. He'll sit down with him and really educate him. It's clear he cares about clients more than his own cash flow."--client P.J. Grabicki, attorney, Spokane, Wash.
"R.C. keeps in close contact and he's easy to work with. He's been both pleasant and given a solid investment performance. He's not only my broker, but has become a personal friend."--client Don Hainsworth, Spokane, Wash.