American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc.
President & CEO: Lon T. Dolber
People: 717 producing investment professionals; 85, or 12%,are women; 115 employees; 42, or 37%, are women.
Assets under administration: $30 billion
Fee-based business: $12.6 billion of assets; $47.3 millionof revenue
Non-fee-based business: $17.4 billion of assets;$52.7 million of revenue
Company data self-reported as of June 30, 2020
pretty much everybody’s fine with that.
Our advisors have good relationships with each other, andthat’s what we’ve really been seeing. Communication is key,especially during a crisis.
We all are fortunate to [lead] firms that are just stacked withreally high-quality advisors. And those are the ones that dothe right things — communicating more, not less, with theirclients. We’re seeing that business is increasing for most of ouradvisors. They’re getting referrals and new clients because ofhow they’ve reacted and communicated.
Webber: Many of our advisors started on the journey firstand foremost by segmenting their clients.
There were certain clients who, perhaps, are busy executives who don’t need anything other than the text message saying, “Hey, I’m here if you need something.” There are elderlyclients who maybe need somebody to run errands for them orteach them how to buy groceries online, etc.
The more innovative advisors were converting to digitalmarketing. They’ve been using Zoom and tools like that to convert client events and seminars to 100% digital. Most of thoseI’ve talked to aren’t going back. Their clients love to be able togo to the advisor events digitally and not have to drive acrosstown, for instance. They’re still bringing a friend.
All of this is being converted into the digital environment,and it seems to be propelling the growth. We all may havethought at first this would … slow things down. But this is aresilient industry. We’ve been — the advisors have been — ableto make this shift really quickly and make sure clients werebeing taken care of the way that each segment needed.
Dolber: A lot of our advisors have small businesses owners
[as clients], and they were extremely affected by what happened. We spent a good amount of time educating our advisorson government programs, such as the Paycheck ProtectionProgram, and making sure that they were somewhat knowledgeable. They had their clients asking them questions, likeabout where they could get some assistance.
We did a lot of videos and seminars about the governmentprograms and the how, what, why and where. That was helpfulfor the advisors.
I think a big percentage of all of our end clients are business owners who have struggled tremendously. They call theiradvisors and ask, “What should I do?” Their accountants callthe advisor and ask, “What should I do?”
Educating advisors on the process and some changes, likeon required minimum distributions, was very important.Advisors had to have the proper level of education, so we spenta lot of time on that.
IA: How about top lessons learned during the pandemic?Webber: What’s been validated for me is that I literally havethe best executive team on the planet. They are amazing. Theymobilized really fast, which allowed me to focus more on thehigher level — the morale and the psychological well-being ofour associates and advisors — as we moved to where what’sbusiness and what’s personal had to converge quickly.
As a leader, it’s been tough to know that no matter wherewe go, there’s a strong possibility we’re not going to win over a100% of the people that we care about. But we had to make thebest decisions that we could.
It became part of my job to just constantly remind everyonethat we aren’t choosing anybody over anybody else, and thatthis is a difficult time. We’re trying to make the best decisionswe can for Cambridge Nation as a whole.
Also, I’m convinced you need some office space. You mustbring some [staff] back at some point in time and in some way,shape or form, because we’ve got to keep that component ofour business that is relationships still going. [Staff ] need to beable to look across at their associates sitting next to them andtalk … about their day.
I’m not saying we can’t keep being excellent for a year [in avirtual environment]. But I don’t see that as a fully sustainablemodel for our business for five or 10 years.
That’s what I’m thinking about constantly. What [virtual]pieces make us better and stronger collectively, so we wantto hold on to them? What do we need to bring back [to theoffice]? How does that need to be rethought? What do we needto do to help ourselves execute in the new world that we’reheaded into?
Dolber: From a leadership point of view, it was an oppor