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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: How Jeff Dobyns Develops Next Generation Talent

Southwestern Investment Group's Jeff Dobyns describes his firm's two-year mentoring program for new advisors, in which they're effectively paid to learn.



Welcome back to the 147th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Jeff Dobyns. Jeff is the founder of Southwestern Investment Group, a hybrid advisory firm based in the Nashville area that oversees nearly $3.5 billion of assets under management.

What’s unique about Jeff, though, is the way he’s been able to develop next-generation talent in his firm, with a deliberate focus on not hiring experienced career changers or advisors with an existing book of business, but instead bringing in new advisors in their 20s and giving them the opportunity to learn alongside experienced advisors from day one in a 2-year mentoring program.

In this episode, we talk in depth about the two-year mentoring program that Jeff’s firm has built. Why Jeff views it as so critical for new advisors to spend the bulk of their time sitting alongside a senior advisor in every client meeting. How they compensate their new advisors while they’re effectively being paid to learn, how they split the cost of talent between the firm itself and the senior advisor who’s being supported, and the tasks that they ultimately hand off to the new advisor to create value for the firm while the learning process is still ongoing.

We also talk about the marketing approach that Southwestern Investment Group has used to grow to nearly $3.5 billion of assets under management over the past 17 years. The way the firm got so deeply involved in Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Provider, ELP program, the effective return on investment that Jeff’s firm has gotten by proactively spending money to get leads, and how Jeff handles the concern that Dave Ramsey is viewed as somewhat controversial by some within the advisor community itself.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Jeff talks about the way he structured leadership within the firm to handle the load of managing more than 100 employees, the way he involves senior advisors of the firm in leadership decisions by creating a Leadership Board, and why he continues to be so focused on attracting and retaining even more next-generation talent into the firm.

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