Happy employees are vital to success

Playing to employees' abilities ensures firmwide strength, fosters retention

Feb 9, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

Believe it or not, Armond Dinverno, president and co-chief executive at Balasa Dinverno Foltz, is more focused on his employees' happiness than his clients'.

“For an organization to be the best it can be, each person has to be at their best,” Mr. Dinverno said.

In fact, he and the firm's six other owners make hiring and keeping the best employees a top priority. They make each individual “the best” by helping him or her figure out what each excels at and by rewarding successes.

“The No. 1 focus of our firm is our people, and providing growth and opportunity for them,” Mr. Dinverno said. “Attracting and retaining top people internally is what allows us to achieve our external mission of helping clients make sound decisions to enjoy a full life.”

The way Balasa Dinverno Foltz structures and supports its staff led InvestmentNews to recognize the 28-year-old firm as a leading innovator in the financial advice business.

SPECIALIZATION

To get the best personnel, some of the firm's 16 wealth managers are focused on bringing in new clients and have a compensation structure that's less salary and more incentive-based comp, he said.

Conversely, a wealth manager who excels at client service will be responsible for more client relationships and have a greater portion of his or her compensation based on salary. All wealth managers at the firm are responsible for between about 25 to 100 client relationships, he said.

“We want to work with the strengths of each individual and help them be the best they can be, as opposed to conferring a title or responsibilities on them that expects them to do things they cannot,” he said.

The strategy seems to be paying off for the firm, which has added nine people over the past three years, relying mainly on existing employees to introduce them to job candidates. It manages about $2.7 billion for clients.

In the 2013 InvestmentNews/ Moss Adams Adviser Compensation and Staffing study, Itasca, Ill.-based Balasa Dinverno Foltz was the highest-ranked multiple-professional firm, based on top-performer criteria. The firm had exceptionally high scores in income per owner, revenue per professional and operating margin.

EYE TO FUTURE

In addition to Mr. Dinverno, the founding partners of the firm are Mark Balasa, chief investment officer and co-CEO, and Michael Foltz, a principal and chief compliance officer. They also have increased the firm's shareholders — and did so in a way that will allow for a non-adviser to hold an investment stake in the firm one day.

Owners are selected based on whether the person has talents that add to the ownership team, Mr. Dinverno said. Already, the firm has owners who aren't managers, focusing instead on their individual strengths, which may be client service, business development or other talents the firm needs to fulfill its mission, he said.

“We look for those who have a skill set important to the future of the company,” he said.

lskinner@investmentnews.com Twitter: @skinnerliz

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

INTV

Why some retirement plan advisers think Fidelity is invading their turf

InvestmentNews editor Frederick P. Gabriel Jr. and reporter Greg Iacurci talk about this week's cover story that looks at whether Fidelity Investments is stepping on the toes of retirement plan advisers.

Latest news & opinion

Is Fidelity competing with retirement plan advisers?

As the Boston-based mutual fund giant expands the products and services it brings to the retirement market, some financial advisers say the firm is encroaching on their turf.

Whistleblower said to collect $30 million in JPMorgan case

The bank did not properly disclose that it was steering asset-management customers into investments that would be profitable for JPMorgan Chase.

Social Security underpaid 82% of dually entitled widows and widowers

Agency failed to tell survivors that they could switch to a higher retirement benefit later.

If Finra eases firm oversight of outside business activities, broker-dealers could lose revenue

Brokerage firms would no longer be able to charge reps for supervising nonaffiliated RIAs.

Galvin charges Scottrade with DOL fiduciary rule violations

Action of Massachusetts' top regulator shows states can put teeth into a rule under review by the Trump administration.

X

Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist investmentnews.com

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print