Charles Schwab & Co announced its IMPACT 2010 awards in Boston, as past and president winners discussed how they achieved success and growth.
One of the most detailed success formulas was outlined by 2009 Best-in-Business award winner Debra Wetherby of Wetherby Asset Management. She outlined three things in a Wednesday panel entitled Best Practices of IMPACT Award Winners:
Wetherby said a strong practice requires defined guiding principals and values that govern interactions with the community, clients and employees. A good advisor also must establish a business plan set forth at the beginning of the year. She said it can be as simple as listing the 10 top goals for the year, and a good advisor must “Approach every relationship as a partnership. What are the basics everyone needs to know?”
Some of the fundamentals include seeing tasks and projects through to completion and being organized.
The 2010 Pacesetter Award winner was six-year-old Mt Eden Investment Advisors, LLC of San Francisco. Keith McWilliams, the company’s chief executive officer and chief investment officer, said he is still deciding how much Mt. Eden should grow from its current $600 million in client assets.
“A billion is the next step,” he said, adding that tripling in size as mentioned by the Schwab executive who presented him with the award is not in the cards. “How big do you want to get? We asked the clients what they think.”
McWilliams said that it is vital for his company refrain from becoming too bureaucratic.
Finally, 2006 Leadership award Tim Kochis, chairman of Aspiriant, talked about how he managed the process of stepping aside as CEO and handing off day-to-day operations to a successor.
“You are not going to live forever. Or you may not be the person to lead the firm,” he said. “Tell your fellow leaders, then your staff and then clients at least a year before it takes place. You will have regrets.”
Another piece of advice he gave is to stay completely away from the firm for extended periods of time. “Get out of sight. I was away for six months,” Kochis said. “I wasn’t even invited to the Christmas party.”
Other 2010 IMPACT awards winners, which were announced Thursday include:
Leadership Award: Jane Williams, co-founder, president and CEO Sand Hill Global Advisors, LLC of Palo Alto, Calif.
Best-in-Business Award: The Colony Group, LLC in Boston.
Best-in-Tech Award: JMG Financial Group, Ltd., Oak Brook, Ill.