Brian Davis, the new director of advisor services for Scottrade Advisor Services, will not be making any drastic changes to the asset custodian business that the St. Louis discount retail brokerage launched five years ago.

There is no pressing need to do that right away, he said. Registered independent advisors like its low-cost retail trading platform so much that they started using it years before the company established the custodian business in 2005.

Last year, when Davis was the division’s business development manager, the number of advisors using its custody, trading and other back office services grew by 44%. That same year, Scottrade Advisor Services added a litany of other services, including allowing for institutional block trading, advanced cost basis reporting, institutional mutual funds, a practice management newsletter, and portfolio reporting solutions through its Portfolio Director suite of planning tools.

Scottrade now serves 750 RIAs. In this business, that is tiny compared with a provider like Schwab Advisor Services, with its 23-year track record and 6,000 advisor client base. Davis, though, is undaunted.

“We’re growing in the right direction,” he said, referring to the increase, which he partially attributes to the breakaway broker trend, and the fact that it does not combine in-house financial advice or investment recommendations with its brokerage services. For its part, Davis said, Scottrade will focus on client service, while making its own improvements in technology. “There are over 30,000 RIAs and the number continues to grow … every day. There is plenty of opportunity for all of us to compete in this market.”

He knows all about the competitors around him, and actually had been a business development officer for Schwab Advisor Services. He’s convinced Scottrade Advisor Services can continue to thrive a competitive marketplace, where more established custodians are making forward strides in the areas of business consulting and technology.

Davis also managed the group after the former director, Doug Talir, left about a year ago, according to press reports.

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Also on the move this week:

Bel-Air Investment Advisors, an independent wealth management firm based in Los Angeles, hired Carol Cheng-Mayer as a vice president, providing investment service to its clients. Before joining Bel Air, Cheng-Mayer spent her career in both New York and Hong Kong with Bankers Trust Co. and Brown, Brothers Harriman, where she worked in international private banking as a relationship manager.

BNY Mellon Wealth Management appointed Denise B. Davis and Andy Strauss as sales directors. They will work in BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s northeast operations. Davis previously ran her own wealth management advisory firm, D.B. Davis & Assoc., of Hamden, Conn.

Citi Private Bank, based in New York City, hired David Moore and Thomas Payne. Both will be a director and private banker. Moore joins from JPMorgan Private Wealth Management. Payne was a managing director for Harris myCFO, where he was based in Chicago. 

Curian Capital, a Denver-based fee-based registered investment advisory and wealth management firm, promoted Tim Parkinson to divisional vice president of the firm’s Western region, and will supervise, train and establish sales goals for a team of 17 external regional business consultants.

DWS Investments, a division of Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management unit, appointed Jeffrey Diamond as a director, and senior national account manager, and head of it U.S. offshore distribution. He had been executive director in national accounts at UBS, where he was responsible for building UBS Global Asset Management’s offshore distribution business in the Americas.

Fifth Third Securities, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, hired Rodney Decker to lead insurance and brokerage operations in Chicago’s northern gateway market. He will serve as an area sales manager, leading a team of 13 investment executives and two licensed sales assistants.

Mesirow Financial, based in Chicago, hired Rachel Halstuk Mangoubi as an investment manager in its investment advisory group. She will partner with Adam Goldman, a managing director in its Investment Advisory group, working out of the firm’s Chicago office. Previously, she spent six years in its investment banking group.

Nationwide Financial Services, based in Columbus, Ohio, announced that Jamie Spenthoff has been selected as a regional vice president of sales for its private sector retirement plans business. Spenthoff had been an internal wholesaler on Nationwide’s retirement plan sales team. The company also announced that Tony Daniel will serve as regional vice president of sales for its private sector retirement plans business, responsible for leading Nationwide’s sales efforts in the Iowa/Nebraska territory. Daniel joins Nationwide from The Orizon Group, LLC in Omaha, Nebraska where he served as a wealth advisor and pension specialist whose responsibilities included overseeing a large block of retirement plans.

State Street Corp., based in Boston, has appointed Samuel Cole as executive vice president and deputy head of State Street’s e-Exchange business, which provides advanced trading solutions for a variety of markets including foreign exchange, swaps, U.S. treasuries and exchange-traded derivatives, among others.