Regional Brokerage Manager and Senior Vice President
Wells Fargo Advisors
San Antonio and Austin, Texas
Number of Advisors: 36
Branch Aum: $2 billion
Brett Bellcase believes that the small things can make or break a business. By sitting with, watching and interacting with advisors over time, Bellcase says he is able to identify the small things that might get in the way of meeting goals or providing an excellent client experience.
"It's incumbent upon us as leaders to not just sit in an office, but go out and know what's going on," Bellcase says.
Being a top branch manager also means that you have to balance the short term fears with the long term goals of both your clients and your advisors. "This is the biggest challenge—to alleviate fears when the news is bloody," he says.
Clients' three top priorities are education of children or grandchildren, employing a strategy to reduce taxes and saving for retirement. That comes as retirement has extended to 30 years from 15 years a generation ago. One great adversary to achieving client goals is consumerism. "I want it now, versus saving. There has been some pullback in household debt, and that's a positive," Bellcase says.
Bellcase has been in the industry since 1994, when he joined a third-party marketing firm affiliated with Premier Bank, a small bank in his home town of Baton Rouge, La. He moved to Hibernia Investments, managing offices in a region that encompassed Baton Rouge and Beaumont, Texas. Ultimately, he came to Wells Fargo as a regional broker manager. He became a manager in New Mexico and landed in Austin, Texas, after the merger with Wachovia led Wells Fargo to realign personnel. Austin was at the top of his geographical wish list.
"There are a lot of great things happening here. And for the second year, Forbes said Austin is the fastest growing city in the nation," Bellcase says.
Bellcase supervises two offices, which are one hour apart, and some scattered satellite locations. He says that he is most proud of the branches' ramp up rate in the past two years, with 83% of the analysts exceeding the firm's ramp up rate. However, Bellcase says there is room for more growth in the future.
To help advisors do their best, Bellcase says that he realizes that the advisors have the same hopes and dreams as their clients. "I understand all the visions by helping the advisors with development plans every year."
— Judith Schoolman
Complex Manager-Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas
Wells Fargo Advisors
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Number of Advisors: 128
Branch Aum: $8.5 billion
Despite the image of the gung-ho salesman, Rick Folmar says he finds his biggest challenge is getting his advisors out of their comfort zone, and in front of clients and prospects. "Getting them to engage and commit to being out in public is a big challenge," he says.
But that's just what advisors need, Folmar says. He watches over his charges closely, with Post-It notes on his desk about various advisors and their weekly or monthly goals.
The strength of the Wells Fargo name has been a major draw in the past year with recruiting, Folmar says, helping him lure 11 experienced advisors from other wirehouses. "We've been able to attract quality talent from the competition as other firms were struggling. People looked to Wells Fargo as a brand of strength and stability," Folmar says.
Folmar says he has capitalized on the firm's brand with a busy schedule of client strategy events in his region of Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas. "We've been extremely active in the community with events in every major community where we do business nearly every month, engaging the public in dialogue about investments."