Welcome to our annual Top 20 Program Managers. While we spend most of our efforts the rest of the year covering advisors in the bank channel, we set aside one issue to devote to the bosses: the program managers.

(Check out a closer look: The Top 20 Bank Program Managers)

One of the consistent refrains we hear all year is the importance of management support for a bank investment program. And whether the manager is a veteran advisor or a long-standing lieutenant of the bank president, he or she becomes a crucial link between the advisors and the bank. Being this link also means they are standing in the eye of the storm in any culture clash between banking and brokerage, another common refrain.

So the program managers have their work cut out for them. What's their pet peeve right now? Judging from our interviews, compliance issues are at the top of that list.

Our top program manager this year, Douglas Wicks from Kinecta Federal Credit Union outside Los Angeles, says another concern is the recruiting power of the wirehouses with their big signing bonuses. But all in a day's work-he also looks to the wirehouses as fertile ground when he recruits. And he has some pretty specific criteria when he hires, which you can read about in the following pages.

Management is hard to rank. It's common for a manager to fail in one setting and subsequently thrive in another (or vice versa). It's very much a people-issue with all the soft skills that entails.

But in the end, a bank's program manager is trying to bring in assets and generate revenue. So we felt that a quantitative look at the mangers in the space was appropriate. We did, however, expand our analysis this year by considering more quantitative factors in determining the Top 20. We continued to use our usual metric, the average production per advisor. But we added three more variables: growth of team assets from the previous year; growth of team production from the previous year; and number of advisors under the manager's direct supervision.

We ranked all the advisors in each of the four categories (we had four different lists at one point) and then combined the results with a weighted average for a comprehensive view of their management success.

The first three variables do not depend on the size of the program, but rather on efficiency and good management, which seemed appropriate for this task. The last variable, head count, is the one measure of size in our analysis.

It's also worth noting that the first three variables only look back a year, so this ranking is very much a product of its time.

Even with our expanded view this year, we have a number of familiar faces here. Leo Iacobelli (#2), for example, was #8 last year and #11 in 2010. Other repeat winners include Michael Petramalo, Tim Ratty, Gary Collier, Ken Wren Jr., Dan Anderson and Jan Krug. We also included a list of honorable mentions.

Enjoy the ranking and the bios. And as always, give us your feedback.

 

1. Douglas Wicks

When Doug Wicks interviews advisors to join Kinecta, he makes it clear that while entrepreneurship is welcome — exclusivity is not.

Describing his management style as something between a carrot and a stick, Wicks shepherds the 14 advisors he oversees as president, CEO and program manager at Kinecta Financial and Insurance Services in southern California toward a team view, supporting them in every facet but discouraging a star mentality. "I see my primary job as fostering the culture of the organization," says Wicks, who's been with Kinecta since 2001 and program manager since 2004. "When I recruit someone I tell them they could be successful if they show up everyday at noon and double-park their Porsche. But if they show up early and brown bag with the employees, they'll be very successful."

To cement the team attitude, Wick tells advisors not to ask for referrals from the credit union, but to give referrals instead. He suggests being a team player: helping branch employees with their own personal 401(k)s or other investments and even cleaning up outside the ATM.

Wicks says he stays in contact with the advisors on a daily basis to make sure he addresses their concerns immediately. And when he sees an area where he can help boost their bottom line, he's not shy about making the suggestion.

For example, Wicks had two advisors in the Santa Monica and El Segundo branches with fairly slow foot traffic. He suggested they start running seminars. Now they earn more than $1 million a year, he says.

Wicks looks for new advisors among those who have cut their teeth at wirehouses and may already earn $250,000 to $300,000 a year but want an opportunity to take their business further. "I don't want to recruit someone who has a big book of business because I don't offer signing bonuses," he says. "I want to work with someone to get them to the next level."

On the downside, he has seen compliance requirements chew into his advisors' schedules, cutting into the number of clients they can see during the day. "The more you handcuff advisors and limit their abilities, they lose a little of their entrepreneurship," he says.

He knows his reps, like many top producers, are eyed by big banks armed with $500,000 signing bonuses. So it's his job to make Kinecta a place where advisors see the opportunity in staying.

"People are always looking for top advisors and you know they're talking with your reps," he says. "My advisors are open and honest, and I talk to other program managers who are up against the same. Knock on wood I haven't had any lured away yet." He added: "Hopefully I didn't jinx myself with that."

Bank/TPM: Kinecta Federal Credit Union/LPL
Location: Westlake Village, Calif.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 13
Avg. production per rep: $702,663
Team production 2011: $7.9 million
Team production 2010: $5.6 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $883 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $782 million
Years at the bank: 11
Years in the industry: 26
Age of program: 24 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities 46%; mutual funds 27%; fixed annuities 11%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


2. Leo Iacobelli

Leo Iacobelli says there's no magic formula to managing an investment advisory team other than hiring what he calls "good fit advisors."

At ESL Federal Credit Union, that means being team oriented. "Our advisors aren't working independently," he says. "They're helping each other out" and "sharing ideas."

Iacobelli launched the program in 1997, and since that time, has seen the role of the advisor change. In the beginning, all people knew were CDs, so there was a strong emphasis on educating both customers and bank employees. Today, advisors are more focused on enhancing existing relationships, as investors are much savvier about investments than they were 15 years ago. Advisors are "more comprehensive in their approach," incorporating more products and services, such as financial planning and insurance, says Iacobelli.

The regulatory environment has also changed dramatically, creating challenges. The paperwork and the disclosures needed to keep up with regulatory requirements are much greater for banks than they are for other advisor channels, says Iacobelli.

Still, Iacobelli has no regrets about his profession. He entered the field in 1987 after a college professor convinced him that mutual funds were the wave of the future and it's been a good ride, he says.

Bank/TPM: ESL Federal Credit Union/LPL
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 11
Avg. production per rep: $545,109
Team production 2011: $5.8 million
Team production 2010: $4.3 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $554 million
Team AUM (12/2010): $369 million
Years at the bank: 15
Years in the industry: 25
Age of program: 15 years
Sample of products: Fixed annuities 38%; variable annuities 31%; mutual funds 24%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


3. Michael Petramalo

As a manager at Wells Fargo, Michael Petramalo wears many hats, but the one he most enjoys is that of coach and facilitator. "There's no greater satisfaction for me than to help financial advisors become successful," he says. He especially relishes working with advisors who want to become $1 million producers, a goal he's helped many achieve.

Petramalo's hands-on management style means a lot of meetings: "10 a day, every day." He meets with each of the program's nearly 50 advisors once quarterly to discuss "where they are and where they want to be." Plus, he meets once a month with each of the four groups he coaches: the Leaders Group ($800,000 in production); Core Group ($500,000 to $800,000); Ramp-Up Group (less than $500,000); and New Hires.

In addition, Petramalo hosts a sales meeting every month for all advisors and meets every Tuesday with an advisor and one of his or her top clients, prospects or bank referral sources. His goal is to strengthen the relationship between advisors and their customers. His coaching has kept up with the times. In the beginning, when advisors were more salesmen than advice givers, Petramalo often coached advisors on how to close a deal. Today, he coaches them on how to become the client's trusted advisor.

Bank/TPM: Wells Fargo/none
Location: Miami, Fla.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 46
Avg. production per rep: $543,000
Team production 2011: $24.2 million
Team production 2010: $20.7 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $2.6 billion
Team AUM 12/2010: $2.3 billion
Years at the bank: 2
Years in the industry: 22
Age of program: 31 years
Sample of products: Fixed annuities 35%; variable annuities 30%; mutual funds 10%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


4. Andrew Kaplan

Every customer, every time is the underlying philosophy of Andrew Kaplan's management of the investment program at New York Community Bank. He emphasizes the importance of customer experience, teamwork and understanding the bigger picture.

While aiming to provide a positive experience with customers, Kaplan also turns that strategy inward: "A customer is not just someone who comes into the bank but also those who work within the branch. We — the bank employees — are each other's customers and need to treat each other that way.… When we realize that we are part of something bigger as far as the investment managers, the bank, the referral staff, everyone, that is when success is obtained." He adds: "It is not what the bank can do for the investment program or what the investment program can do for the bank but what we do for one another as an organization."

The financial crisis was tough for the entire industry, obviously, but in hindsight, Kaplan thinks it also had some benefits for banks. "Our customers need financial advice and guidance more than ever. They were looking for strength and the combination of what an investment consultant can do together with the bank proved to be a very valuable experience," he says.

Bank/TPM: New York Community Bank/LPL
Location: Jericho, N.Y.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 45
Avg. production per rep: $382,448
Team production 2011: $14.6 million
Team production 2010: $9.5 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $1.8 billion
Team AUM 12/2010: $1.5 billion
Years at the bank: 18
Years in the industry: 25
Age of program: 21 years
Sample of products: Fixed annuities 38%; variable annuities 34%; mutual funds 15%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


5. Jim McCrudden

Letting good people make their own decisions has underpinned Jim McCrudden's management strategy throughout his tenure at Citadel. "Giving advisors the independence to manage their branches in the way they perceive as appropriate is the best way to go," he says. "I have a lot of different advisors and each one of them has a different style. They have different clients and work different hours and all contribute in their own way."

McCrudden started his career in a credit union before moving to a bank. But after six years, he moved back to the credit union environment at Citadel where he has been for the past eight years. He enjoys the customerfocused nature of a credit union, saying that is usually a "nicer, more positive environment" than a bank.

The financial crisis made many things harder but McCrudden thinks it gives an advantage in some areas to outfits like Citadel. "The individual who comes into the credit union knows us. We are a community organization and the folks that work in the branches are members of the community," he says. And an area for potential growth comes from their own customer base. Slightly less than 3% of its credit union customers have a relationship with the financial services side, he says. "There is considerable opportunity to increase that number."

Bank/TPM: Citadel Federal Credit Union/CUSO Financial Services
Location: Exton, Pa.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 5
Avg. production per rep: $629,000
Team production 2011: $3.1 million
Team production 2010: $2.2 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $256 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $219 million
Years at the bank: 8
Years in the industry: 22
Age of program: 20 years
Sample of products: Managed accounts 38%; variable annuities 35%; mutual funds 19%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


6. Dan Anderson

After seven years of managing the trust department at MainSource (and four years as a bank regulator before that), Dan Anderson encouraged the bank to establish an investment program. It did, and then put him in charge of it. He acts as a coach and tries to lead by example and reminds his team that as a producing manager, he's in the trenches just like they are.

Bank/TPM: MainSource Bank/Raymond James
Location: Greensburg, Ind.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 8
Avg. production per rep: $369,835
Team production 2011: $3 million
Team production 2010: $1.8 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $237.5 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $156 million
Years at the bank: 17
Years in the industry: 10
Age of program: 10 years
Sample of products: Annuities 62%; mutual funds 23%; fee-based accounts 5.8%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


7. Tim Ratty

Tim Ratty sets high goals and monitors his advisors' progress in achieving those marks. But he also gives them considerable autonomy along the way by empowering them to make their own decisions. He is not partial to any particular investment product and allows his FAs the flexibility to decide product mix and investment style.

Bank/TPM: Wells Fargo/NA
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 36
Avg. production per rep: $500,000
Team production 2011: $21.5 million
Team production 2010: $19.9 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $2.2 billion
Team AUM 12/2010: $2.0 billion
Years at the bank: 2.5
Years in the industry: 15
Age of program: 31 years
Sample of products: Mutual funds 30%; managed accounts 20%; fixed income 15%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


8. Steve Kruchten

Steve Kruchten made a full-court press last year to partner with the bank's senior management to improve the percentage of new business closed from bank referrals (it was at 18%.) After a year full of bank training events and management buy-in, Bremer Investment Services ended the year with that mark at more than 40%, resulting in higher-quality referrals.

Bank/TPM: Bremer Bank/Raymond James
Location: St. Paul, Minn.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 23
Avg. production per rep: $376,261
Team production 2011: $8.7 million
Team production 2010: $7.3 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $1.1 billion
Team AUM 12/2010: $954 million
Years at the bank: 4
Years in the industry: 25
Age of program: 26 years
Sample of products: Annuities 46%; mutual funds 35%; fee-based accounts 12%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


9. Slade Simons

Slade Simons consistently looks to strengthen his business model and fosters sharing of ideas. A few years ago, he tasked his team with analyzing segmentation so they could recognize (and retain) top clients. He pulled together an analysis on each advisor's book of business as he strived to diversify the program's business mix while also moving to a model to strengthen client relationships.

Bank/TPM: Gulf Coast Bank/LPL
Location: Metairie, La.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 7
Avg. production per rep: $437,510
Team production 2011: $1.9 million
Team production 2010: $1.4 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $178 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $150 million
Years at the bank: 5
Years in the industry: 18
Age of program: 7 years
Sample of products: Direct 31%; variable annuities 21%; mutual funds 13%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


10. Kevin Walrath

After a military upbringing, followed by a military career of his own, Kevin Walrath is always focused on the team. And he's a big believer in aligning people's skills with the tasks at hand. After the challenging times of the past several years, the team is more focused on clients' families and their futures than ever before, with the goal of giving more holistic advice.

Bank/TPM: Northwest Financial Group/LPL
Location: Herndon, Va.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 6
Avg. production per rep: $978,000
Team production 2011: $4.9 million
Team production 2010: $4.0 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $588 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $540 million
Years at the bank: 5
Years in the industry: 20
Age of program: 12 years
Sample of products: Advisory 80%; mutual funds 12%; variable annuity 4%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


11. Matthew Snively

Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union renewed its strategy to position its wealth management program as a core product several years ago. It brought Matt Snively on board to lead the team. He beefed up the ranks, increased training and then gave them the latitude to make decisions. In this time, team AUM increased from $183 million to $306 million, with 85% of revenue coming from fee business.

Bank/TPM: Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union/LPL
Location: Indianapolis, Ind.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 5
Avg. production per rep: $483,000
Team production 2011: $2.1 million
Team production 2010: $1.5 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $293 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $247 million
Years at the bank: 5
Years in the industry: 20
Age of program: 15 years
Sample of products: Advisory accounts 72%; mutual funds 12%; variable annuities 8%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


12. Jan Krug

Tri Counties Bank hired industry veteran Jan Krug to run its investment program in September 2010 as part of an expansion plan to develop a team to serve its growing network of branches. She is responsible for all coaching, training and supervision of the advisors. Since then, she has hired five FAs and increased the team's production by $1.5 million and AUM by almost $120 million.

Bank/TPM: Tri Counties Bank/Raymond James
Location: Chico, Calif.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 10
Avg. production per rep: $211,784
Team production 2011: $2.1 million
Team production 2010: $1.1 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $293.1 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $218 million
Years at the bank: 2
Years in the industry: 27
Age of program: 26 years
Sample of products: Annuities 51%; mutual funds 28%; fee-based accounts 11%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


13. Donna McNeely

Donna McNeely partnered with branch management last year to shift the referral incentive program to focus on the amount of money involved. And despite a 30% drop in the total number of referrals, there was a 60% increase in the dollars invested, fostering stronger partnerships among the branches and advisors. There also was a positive effect on future branch campaigns.

Bank/TPM: Premier America Credit Union/LPL
Location: Chatsworth, Calif.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 4
Avg. production per rep: $510,087
Team production 2011: $1.4 million
Team production 2010: $1.1 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $136 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $112 million
Years at the bank: 2
Years in the industry: 33
Age of program: 28 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities 65%; mutual funds 16%; fixed annuities 8%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes (with a committee)


14. Lou Mastropietro

Lou Mastropietro sets clear goals and a strategy to achieve them. He holds his sales managers accountable for the activities they can control and buffers them from the things they cannot. He then works to ensure the relationship between the bank and the investment program is strong. Fully understanding the bank's needs enables him to attain mutual goals.

Bank/TPM: Astoria Federal Savings/LPL
Location: Lake Success, N.Y.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 48
Avg. production per rep: $450,463
Team production 2011: $24.2 million
Team production 2010: $25.5 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $3 billion
Team AUM 12/2010: $2.5 billion
Years at the bank: 6
Years in the industry: 28
Age of program: 15 years
Sample of products: Fixed annuities 43%; variable annuities 29%; insurance 16%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes (as part of a committee)


15. Matthew Clark

Since arriving at Mountain America Credit Union, Matthew Clark has overseen makeovers in marketing, sales and staff support. And during that time, his leadership has parlayed into a fivefold increase in production and a tenfold increase in the number of referrals sent from branch employees. Credit union executives say that there is trust now internally where it didn't exist before.

Bank/TPM: Mountain America Credit Union/LPL
Location: West Jordan, Utah
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 9
Avg. production per rep: $440,275
Team production 2011: $4.8 million
Team production 2010: $4.2 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $293.4 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $256.6 million
Years at the bank: 6
Years in the industry: 22
Age of program: 20 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities 37%; fixed annuities 36%; mutual funds 12%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes (along with LPL)


16. Gary Collier

Gary Collier believes advisors can be successful in the bank channel while maintaining independence. He encourages advisors to market themselves in areas they enjoy (Rotary, church, etc). And he has focused on educating them on obtaining referrals from centers of influence. Since his arrival three years ago, Pinnacle has increased its revenue by more than $2 million to top $8 million.

Bank/TPM: Pinnacle National Bank/Raymond James
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 18
Avg. production per rep: $446,718
Team production 2011: $8.0 million
Team production 2010: $6.6 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $1.1 billion
Team AUM 12/2010: $1.0 billion
Years at the bank: 3
Years in the industry: 21
Age of program: 11 years
Sample of products: Fee-based accounts 43%; mutual funds 30%; annuities 18%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


17. Agnes Lew

Agnes Lew has worked for L.A.-based Cathay Bank for nine years, the entire time as the manager of the investment program, which has enjoyed significant growth in recent years. She works at educating her advisors not only on the products the bank sells but also on the products competitors sell. This helps them answer customers' questions and address their needs.

Bank/TPM: Cathay Bank/PrimeVest Financial Services
Location: El Monte, Calif.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 12
Avg. production per rep: $350,000
Team production 2011: $4.2 million
Team production 2010: $3.1 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $236.7 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $216.4 million
Years at the bank: 9
Years in the industry: 15
Age of program: 9 years
Sample of product mix: Mutual funds 37%; variable annuities 24%; life insurance 15%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


18. Wayne Martin

Wayne Martin's career included stints at Robinson Humphrey, Shearson and Sterne Agee & Leach, where he oversaw global recruiting. He joined Ameris Bank in 2009 as SVP, Director of Retail Investments, when the program had total assets of $44 million and no advisors. Over the next three years under Martin, it grew to $121 million and six advisors (3 trainees and 3 recruits).

Bank/TPM: Ameris Bank/Raymond James
Location: Brunswick, Ga.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 6
Avg. production per rep: $187,500
Team production 2011 $1.1 million
Team production 2010: $677,769
Team AUM 12/2011: $121.5 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $71.9 million
Years at the bank: 3
Years in the industry: 25
Age of program: 7
Sample of products: Annuities 40%; fee-based accounts 27%; mutual funds 23%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


19. Mark Mullican

After 25 years of industry experience in banking and brokerage in the mid-Atlantic market, Mark Mullican joined Fulton Bank last year. In his current role as president of the brokerage unit, he is responsible for the advisory team throughout the $16 billion bank's territory that includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Bank/TPM: Fulton Bank/Raymond James
Location: Lancaster, Pa.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 41
Avg. production per rep: $407,449
Team production 2011: $16.7 million
Team production 2010: $15.0 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $1.9 billion
Team AUM 12/2010: $1.8 billion
Years at the bank: 1
Years in the industry: 28
Age of program: 14 years
Sample of products: Annuities 51%; fee-based accounts 24%; mutual funds 21%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


20. Ken Wren Jr.

In 2004, TowneBank hired the father-and-son team of Ken Wren Jr. and Sr. to operate its investment program. Since then, the younger Wren has not only maintained and grown his own practice, but has successfully developed a blend of traditional and fee-based advisors. A commitment to community and client services is a quality he encourages in advisors as well as other staff members.

Bank/TPM: TowneBank/Raymond James
Location: Suffolk, Va.
No. of FAs as of Dec. 31, 2011: 8
Avg. production per rep: $562,571
Team production 2011: $4.5 million
Team production 2010: $3.9 million
Team AUM 12/2011: $780.0 million
Team AUM 12/2010: $761.3 million
Years at the bank: 8
Years in the industry: 18
Age of program: 8 years
Sample of products: Fee-based accounts 38%; mutual funds 25%; equities 18%
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


Honorable Mentions
Here are the next 10 program managers from our ranking (listed alphabetically)

Jim Badge: DFCU Financial/CUSO Financial Service

Nicholas Bellino: First National Bank in Hermitage, Pa./LPL

Stacy Dillon and Kathryn Defosse (co-managers): Bank of North Carolina/Raymond James

Steve Franke: Allegacy Federal Credit Union/CUSO Financial Services

Howard Hammond: Fifth Third Bank/none

Cory Libis: American National Bank/SAI

John McRae: Citizens National Bank/Raymond James

William Moor: Capital City Bank/Invest Financial

John Olerio: Webster Bank/LPL

Bradley Wastler: First National Bank of St. Louis/Invest Financial Corp.