These employees have the highest productivity and satisfaction, which makes total sense to me.
Burmeister: You can rotate employees to keep them safe.We were very open with our employees about our decision-making process. We still have a handful of people going intothe office because they have to. We’ve been setting up a safeenvironment with cleaning stations and such. We finished anexpansion on the 25th floor at the end of last year — completely renovated it and now we can’t use it as planned.
Also, without face-to-face interaction, we’ve tried to up ourgame at the executive level. Our senior vice presidents in thefield, we call them firm builders, are out there consulting withfirms on how to expand their businesses, to grow and to reachtheir multiples even in times like these.
We brought in professional speakers like Terry Sjodin towalk us through the best way to communicate in this environment. How can we up our game and do some of the things thatwe said wanted to do?
We’re continuing to recruit — bringing on new firms andnew owners. Business is still thriving.
But how do we adopt and adapt new technologies, work-flows and processes to make sure that we’re running as efficiently as possible? There’s going to be a certain amount oftime at which point productivity will fade.
Now, the good news is everything’s web based. You cantrack production and see who’s moving which widgets. Youreally do get a good feel for the business.
But there’s nothing like being next to somebody over lunchor a drink and having that interaction. We’ve got to get back tothat at some point.
IA: What is your approach to the industry’s need for
great diversity and inclusion?
Dolber: When I think of inclusion and diversity, I think ofstakeholder capitalism. A good part of our industry is based onshareholder value, but not stakeholder value — which is aboutcommunity, workers, etc.
We talk to advisors about sustainability and also haveexposed them to the United Nations’ sustainability goals. If weunderstand that, we’ll get to more inclusion and diversity.
Are we looking at public companies? Are we looking at ESGand if they are good stewards and good citizens? That’s a discussion that will drive inclusion and diversity. And, of course,we should set ourselves up as examples.
When we look at our own diversity and our own inclusion, we ask ourselves if we are doing a good job and if canwe do better.
Some of this starts at a very young level. We support VirtualEnterprise International, and our internship program is verybig. We get high school students that come and see our financial services company, including people of color, girls andyoung women.
We’ve also done a fellowship program in Ferguson, Missouri,a two-year program that connects people there with financialadvisors. It’s all about changing hearts and minds.
If we want more diversity, more inclusion, we have to startin the community. But we also have to expose our advisors tothe bigger picture of what I call stakeholder activism, whichis about the portfolios that you’re building. What are thosecompanies that you’re putting your clients into [doing in theircommunities]? I think the public does care about that. So, …we’re talking to our advisors and doing seminars about it.
Webber: About two weeks ago, we formalized an internal diversity and inclusion committee. We had about 25associates who nominated themselves to be part of it. Wesplit into subgroups. There’s one focused primarily onfinancial professionals.
A lot of them are very enthusiastic about taking on issuestied to the fact that while the percentage of women in theindustry is still a mess, it’s way better than that of many othercategories. What did we learn in that environment and howcan we transcend that over into other areas of diversity?
This includes diversity of thought, and our inclusion discussions also include associates and advisors who are, say, taking care of a child with a disability or their parents. It’s beenreally exciting to watch how these individuals who [said] theywanted to be a part of this have such amazing ideas on how tomake a difference.
In so many cases, this work crosses immediately into oursocial and sustainable investing programs. Advisors want to
Geneos Wealth Management, Inc.
President: Ryan W. Diachok
People: 260 financial advisors; 50, or 19% are women;
54 employees; 31, or 57%, are women.
Assets under management/administration: $17 billion
Fee-based business: $7 billion of assets undermanagement; 65% of total revenue
Non-fee-based business: $10 billion of assets undermanagement; 35% of total revenue
Company data self-reported as of June 30, 2020