The most remarkable change that Leo Iaocabelli, president of ESL Federal Credit Union's investment program, has witnessed over the years is the change in the expectation investors have of financial advisors.

Today's investors are much more savvy and their understanding of finance is far deeper than ever before, he says. "So they're looking at us and saying 'How are you different?' And they're asking, 'What can you do for me that the bank down the street can't?'"

More important, though, clients are also placing greater emphasis on trust than they did in the past. "In 1997 [when he joined ESL], clients were concerned with getting the best returns. But today, they want to work with someone they trust, someone who's aligned with their best interests," Iacobelli says.

Working for a credit union helps with the trust issue, but it also carries a responsibility to maintain what has been sustained over 90 years, he says.

ESL has always used a team approach to business to uphold the institution's core values. That mind-set starts with top management and extends down to the support staff. "I have worked in other institutions where the next level of management didn't even know who the advisors were," Hiring advisors who can fit into this modus operandi is a challenge for Iaocabelli, but so far, "I think I have found the right people," he says.

 

Bank: ESL Federal Credit Union
TPM: LPL Financial
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 13
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 9
Team production 2012: $7.2 million
Team production 2011: $5.7 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $802.9 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $553.8 million
Avg. production per rep: $572,000
Years at bank: 16
Years in industry: 26
Age of program: 16 years
Sample of products: Mutual funds, Variable annuities, Fixed annuities
Do you decide what productsare on the shelf? No

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