On Wall Street magazine presented its Third Annual Branch Manager Awards sponsored by MainStay Investments on Tuesday, April 20 at Del Posto restaurant in Manhattan.

Celebrity Chef Lidia Bastianich, co-owner of Del Posto and three other restaurants and the host of television's Lidia’s Italy, mingled with the award winners and posed for pictures before giving evening' keynote speech.

In her speech, Bastianich compared her business model, which includes her restaurants, the vineyards she operates with her son and her television production company, to the financial advisory industry and to the role of the branch manager in particular. She emphasized the importance of recognizing and addressing the needs and the desires of the client.

The night was co-hosted by Frances McMorris, On Wall Street's Editor-in-Chief, and Mike Coffey, MainStay Investments’ senior vice president for third party distribution for its retirement income security group.

“When we sought a partner to create this program four years ago, we knew we wanted to help recognize the achievements of a unique function in the advisor community,” Coffey said. This function “requires a special skill set and understanding of not only a complex business, but of people and what drives them.”

In addition, SourceMedia chief executive officer Douglas Manoni, congratulated the winners, saying: “Leadership in any industry is about finding business solutions when many others throw their hands up or quietly withdraw. It’s about maintaining a focus and passion about your business—that inspires others. And, it’s about delivering value, finding the right answers to your customers, and upholding your integrity. Each of our winners this evening has demonstrated these qualities.”

The Top Ten honored at the dinner were chosen by a panel of judges, specifically:

David Gardner – co-founder of Smart Consulting, a managed money platform and business integration consultant to broker-dealers, banks and asset management firms;

Philip Palaveev – principal and president at Fusion Advisor Network, who is leading the firm’s growth in the registered investment advisory channel; 

Alois Pirker - the widely quoted wealth management expert and research director at Aite Group, which provides insight on business, tech and regulatory issues in the financial services industry;

Stewart Lee – founder of Lee Training, which provides performance coaching for financial advisors as well as branch managers. This is the third time he has judged the competition.

The evening ended with McMorris and Coffey giving the winners their awards.