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25 Years Later: The 1989 Rookies of the Year

In 1989, Registered Representative magazine profiled eight rising stars, highlighting their rapid growth business strategies. Now we've tracked down these brokers to see where they ended up 25 years later. All but two are still working as financial advisors.

“Twenty-five years ago, there really wasn’t a retirement industry,” says Tom Noble, of the Raymond James-affiliated Noble Group. As an early retirement specialists, Noble has seen the space explode. Even 10 years ago, Noble says only a handful of people were in the 401(k) and employee benefits space, but now it’s exploded. “Everyone’s trying to jump in,” he says.

Technology has also drastically changed day-to-day operations for these brokers. “Twenty-five years ago I can remember handwriting the ticket and handing it to the assistant,” says Tom Zielinski, now a branch manager with RBC Wealth Management. Now everything is instantaneous, he says.

“What hasn’t changed is that people still want quality service,” Zielinski says. With the rise of online brokerages, investors can go to a website and make a trade, service is what really keeps clients, he says. “Service was paramount back then to get the business, but quality service today is vital to keeping and growing the business.”

As for today’s “rookie advisors,” Zielinski recommends joining forces with a senior advisor or a team who can help with support at the beginning. “You can’t just walk into this business and be hungry anymore,” he says. “Team up with a firm or a senior financial advisor who is aligned with your values.”

“Differentiate yourself,” adds Michael Newton, now a pension fund consultant with Kovack Advisors. Instead of just focusing on getting the next client, Newton recommends young advisors take the time to go through a known and respected curriculum like the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) program. Newton credits the designation and continuing education to “adding couple of zeros to my production,” he says.

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