Welcome once again to our annual Top 20 Program Managers. We spend most of the year focusing on bank advisors and the issues they face, but we set aside this issue just for the managers.

We again used a weighted average of five different variables, namely: 1) percentage growth of team AUM; 2) percentage increase in team production; 3) number of advisors under the manager’s direct supervision; 4) number of licensed bank employees under the manager’s direct supervision; and 5) average production per advisor. We didn’t want the ranking to be simply a listing of the biggest programs, but rather those that also focus on growth and efficiency, which we would argue are the result of good management.

Read more about all of our winners and the secrets to their success. To see our slideshow, click here.

1. Agnes Lew
Bank: East West Bank
TPM: Cetera Financial Institutions

As the senior vice president and director of wealth management at East West Bank in Pasadena, Calif., Agnes Lew has enjoyed a star career. But even with turns running the wealth management department at Cathay Bank, directing Platinum Brokerage as its president, and serving as a former manager of business development at media firm Gemstar, her current role seems to suit her best when she’s serving not just her clients but also her employees.

“My staff are my clients,” she says. “I do not talk about them hitting their GDC but how I want them to brainstorm with me.”

Launched in 1973, East West Bank pulls about 70% of its clients from the Chinese-American population, 20% from overseas, with about 10% a mix of different nationalities, says Lew. The bank is a full-service offering, with more than $26 billion in total assets as of April, and Lew has run the business arm that serves its ultra-high-net-worth clients since September 2012.

Lew says East West Bank increased its GDC almost four times from a year ago, and she credits not just her producers but also the back office for their success, preferring to let her team shine rather than gather accolades for herself. She’s loyal to the core, and will go to the mat for her staff. As one example, when an advisor was beset with disciplinary action regarding the way she had handled some clients, Lew tracked down the data, discovered facts that were incorrect, and had her employee cleared.

“If you’ve done something wrong, I will hold you accountable,” she says. “But if not, I am going to defend you. And I fight hard.”

Her tenacity is not just on display with her team but also with clients, evidenced by the policy set by her department when working with elite clients — particularly those from China. Not only are most members of her team are bilingual—if not trilingual—they are also fluent in the customs and culture of their Chinese clients, and in particular of what may offend them. With the private banking side focused on serving ultra-high-net-worth prospects and clients, East West Bank sets itself apart by not having a minimum when opening an account. This, says Lew, is tactical. “Many Chinese people are very humble,” she says, explaining how clients from China will often not speak of their wealth. “They are not going to give you that $5 million to start but test you out with $100,000. We understand their need to feel comfortable with us. And I always feel we need to earn the client’s trust.”

Lew’s focus on East West’s clients doesn’t end with meeting their wealth management needs. She is equally dedicated in teaching them how to invest in opportunities that do not increase their asset base. Sitting on the Board of Directors of both the American Red Cross and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Lew encourages clients to look for passions they can support as well. “I don’t care if they donate to a church, a homeless shelter or the opera, but I think we all have a duty to give back,” she says.


2. Scott Jenner
Bank: First Tech Federal Credit Union
TPM: Raymond James

Having coached most of his sons’ sports teams from elementary school to junior high, Scott Jenner is skilled in guiding folks to a deciding moment then hoping they take the best step forward.

“You’re going to break down someone’s life picture and advise them based on your expertise,” he says. “But then it’s really up to them to make the educated and informed decision.”

As a former college football and baseball player, Jenner understands the need for great coaching. But today, as president of Addison Avenue Investment Services, (a division of First Tech Federal Credit Union), he hands the quarterbacking of investors to his advisors. Instead, his focus is on attracting top talent, who are then charged with signing clients from some of the biggest names in high-tech from Microsoft to Cisco.

Jenner sets that stage by designing programs for the division, coordinating services and acting as liaison between the broker-dealer and the rest of the team.

Jenner knows how the advising side of the business works and what it needs in order to succeed. Still, he knows that even a great advisor who spends time with an investor must hand the final decision over to his client. “You want them to make an educated decision,” he says.


3. Mike Haggerty
Bank: Community America Credit Union
TPM: CUSO Financial Services

Mike Haggerty, program manager and vice president of financial planning services at the CommunityAmerica Credit Union in Lenexa, Kan., says that the key to his success has been steady growth in the program. While there have been some inevitable bumps—notably the financial crash that struck shortly after he was made program manager in 2006— he says, “we’ve had seven consecutive years of growth.” His program has grown by 500%, to a point where his team now covers 30 branches and handles nearly $500 million in AUM for about 6,000 clients.

We’ve been adding advisors in a very consistent, steady way,” he says. When he hires someone, there is usually something about them that he connects with. “When I see that, I don’t do anything to mess with it.”

The biggest change he’s seen during his tenure has been a push by people to look for institutions that are “conservative and that they can trust.” He says, “Whether or not it’s true that advisors are more likely to be on the clients’ side at a credit union—and I know that there are good and bad advisors everywhere—there has certainly been this perception out there since the financial crisis that you couldn’t always trust the advisors at a bank, and that has really been beneficial to the credit unions, and to our investment program."


4. Chad Waddoups
Bank: Mountain America Credit Union
TPM: LPL Financial

Chad Waddoups’ first impression of financial services came from his Uncle Chris who served up stock market updates on the radio every afternoon in the Idaho hometown where he grew up.

“I thought it was neat to hear him doing his thing,” says the vice president of investment and insurance services at Mountain America Credit Union in West Jordan, Utah. “That was my first inclination I could do something in this business.”

Today, Waddoups is looking to make his own impact on the team of advisors he’s managed for the last six years at the credit union. As he sees it, his job is to motivate his team, removing obstacles so they can “do what they’re good at,” he says. Often that includes handling logistics and systems challenges, so they don’t detract from his reps’ time with clients. But part of his mandate is to push the mission of the credit union, which is putting the customer first.

Formerly an advisor himself, Waddoups now enjoys sitting on the management side. He seeks reps who can relate on an individual level with prospective clients. Waddoups knows that with the right advisor, clients are better served.

“Understanding a client’s needs is not intuitive to everyone,” he says. “But ultimately it’s the personal connection that will make us successful.”


5. Beverly Gaines
Bank:Happy State Bank
TPM: LPL Financial

You’d have to say program manager Beverly Gaines is  happy. So is her team of advisors. It’s not just that they live in a town in West Texas called Happy, and that they all work at
Happy State Bank’s Happy Investment Service. It’s also a state of mind.

“I know it sounds hokey, but it’s true,” says Gaines. She cites as proof the zero turnover among the advisors who have signed on with her over the seven years since she started the bank’s program. “The only person who left is someone who retired,” she says.

One reason for all that happiness may be success they’ve enjoyed. Although Gaines began the bank’s investment program right before the financial crisis, the program now has $229 million in AUM. “We had no place to go but up,” she says.

A current challenge is the growing pains of the group. “We’re growing fast, which means we have to make sure we have enough advisors so clients don’t have to wait. But they also have to be the right advisors.”

The bank just opened a new branch in Dallas, about five hours away. Gaines hired a local advisor from Amarillo who “understands the small town culture.” While Dallas is a big city, “we wanted to keep our community bank feel,” she says.

Here are the rest of our top 20 program managers. To see bio information on #6 through #20, as well as data and photos of all our winners, check out our slideshow.

6. Ed Cwalina
Bank: National Penn Bank
TPM: Cetera Financial Institutions

7. Lawrence Orsini
Bank: First Niagara Bank
TPM: LPL Financial

8. Tim Bush
Bank:Bell State Bank & Trust
TPM:Cetera Financial Institution

9. Britt Borders
Bank: Capital Bank
TPM: LPL Financial

10. Gary Collier
Bank: Pinnacle Bank
TPM: Raymond James

11. James Badge
Bank: DFCU Financial
TPM: CUSO Financial

12. John Olerio
Bank: Webster Bank
TPM: LPL Financial

13. John Marx
Bank: Elevations Credit Union
TPM: CUSO Financial

14. Dan Anderson
Bank: MainSource Bank
TPM: Raymond James

15. Melissa Ekeberg
Bank: United Community Bank
TPM:Invest Financial

16. Melanie Weischwill
Bank:Prosperity Bank
TPM: Cetera Financial Institutions

17. Vance Richard
Bank: Iberia Bank
TPM: Essex National Securities

18.Steve Kruchten
Bank: Bremer Bank
TPM: Raymond James

19. Jack Nelson
Bank Johnson Bank
TPM: Invest Financial

20. Michael Zito
Bank: Trustmark National Bank
TPM: LPL Financial

Honorable Mentions: Here are the next 10 program managers who came in just under our cut-off to make the official Top 20.

21. Arthur Hornak
Bank: Sun National Bank
Invest Financial

22. Kenneth Ellspermann
Bank: Old National Bank
TPM: LPL Financial

23. Mark Hoaglin
Bank: Patelco Credit Union
TPM:CUSO Financial

24. Kim Scalzitti
Bank: MB Financial
TPM: Cetera Financial Institutions

25. Todd Shobert
Bank: Washington State Employee Credit Union
TPM: LPL Financial

26. Jules Mbogi
Bank: United Nations Federal Credit Union
TPM: Raymond James

27. Matt Snively
Bank: Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union
TPM: LPL Financial

28. David Wick
Bank: Heartland Financial USA
TPM: LPL Financial

29. Waylon Peterson
Bank: Teachers Credit Union
TPM: CUNA Brokerage Services

30. Ken Wren Jr.
Bank: TowneBank
TPM: Raymond James