The job of a program manager has never been more important. We are hearing more about the link (read: the gap) between banks and their investment programs.

While everyone notes the growing importance of the fee income that programs can provide, many banks still have a hard time integrating this into their operations.

Moreover, banks can't just focus on those fee income numbers because the job of the advisor is less about numbers and more about trust than ever before.

Meanwhile, the program managers, whether they worked for years as advisors or were top lieutenants of the bank presidents who took on added responsibility, often find themselves inhabiting the ground between these two factions.

For our annual Top 20, we expanded our analysis again to bring you a well-rounded ranking. As we did last year, we used multiple variables and combined them into a weighted average.

Specifically, we used five considerations: (1) growth of team assets; (2) growth of team annual production; (3) average production per advisor; (4) number of full-time advisors the program manager directly supervises; and (5) number of licensed branch employees under their supervision.

Now, a few clarifications: The last one listed, the number of LBEs, is a new consideration this year. It's a topic of growing importance in the channel. But since they are lesser-credentialed employees, we didn't give that variable as much weight as the other four. Also, in some cases, we calculated our own estimates of production-per-advisor by dividing team production by the average number of advisors year-over-year.

Finally, any one category could only contribute a certain amount to the overall scores.

The first three variables did not depend on size, but rather efficiency and growth, which, we would argue, are signs of good management. And that's reflected in the rankings, as we have a number of smaller programs. Eight of the 20 programs here have fewer than 10 FAs; two have fewer than 5.

Our top program manager this year (warning: spoiler alert) is Britt Woods from Fifth Third Bank. An obvious achiever, he has built two programs from the ground up and turned around another one for Fifth Third. But more to the point, he exemplifies the fine line that managers walk in an industry that is all about the numbers, yet depends on personal interactions. How does he do it? By focusing on the people side of that equation.

Coming in second this year-as well as last year-is Leo Iacobelli from ESL Federal Credit Union. He discusses how trust is more important for clients these days than the returns on their investments. We also have plenty of new faces on this year's list. (Following the Top 20, we also include a list of honorable mentions.) You can see them all and read about their unique approach to their jobs in the following pages.

 

1. Britt Woods

In three years, Britt Woods accomplished as much as many program managers achieve in an entire career. He built two new programs in Tennessee and Georgia from scratch, making each a top producer, and then turned around a failing program in Kentucky within a short period of time.

What makes this Fifth Third Bank program manager such a phenom? He chalks it up to his management style and people skills. He knows his advisors personally, learning as much as he can about their backgrounds, so he can assign them to the right territories. "If you have someone who… comes from a blue-collar background, you need to make sure they're in a blue-collar market," he says.

When he took over the firm's struggling Kentucky practice, he met individually with each of the 17 advisors and realized that the entire territory had to be restructured. "The right people weren't in the right territories," he recalled. One of them was close to losing his job. He wasn't meeting requirements, but Wood refused to give up on him because he had been a top producer at another firm. The problem? His territory was a "complete 180 of where he should be." The advisor served a very affluent territory, which was at odds with his rural upbringing. Once he was reassigned to a "territory with people like him," the advisor's sales went up dramatically, Woods said. "People buy from people they like and trust and have something in common with."

Building a successful program requires more than the right matches, however. It's crucial to develop strong relationships with the retail bank. After all, "without that sign outside, we're not in business," Woods said.

Woods works to make sure the retail bank looks at him as its "No. 1 partner." He does this, in part, by supporting activities and events that are not part of his business. Sales training classes he conducts do more than merely build rapport with bank staff. "My advisors will not come to me and say they're not getting referrals because I'm out there doing referral training for bank employees," Woods said.

Woods coaches his reps to cross-sell banking products. "You can't have an investment program that just wants referrals from the bank and doesn't reciprocate referrals back to the bank," he said.

Bank: Fifth Third Bank
TPM: none
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
FAs manager oversees (as of 12/31/12): 28
LBEs manager oversees (as of 12/31/12): 43
Team production 2012: $9.6 million
Team production 2011: $3.2 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $640 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $186.6 million
Avg. production per rep: $328,000
Years at the bank: 3
Years in the industry: 10
Age of program: not available
Sample of products: Unit investment trusts, Insurance, Mutual funds
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


2. Leo Iacobelli

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


3. Drue Anderson

As a program manager at Citi Personal Wealth Management, Drue Anderson sees himself as an "advocate for greatness."

His advisors are so driven, he says, there's little he needs to do to motivate them. That's because he recruits advisors who want to be "exponentially more successful" and are not satisfied with the status quo. "They're looking to grow their business on a year-over-year basis," he says.

Nevertheless, Anderson makes sure he shares winning strategies and advisor success stories with his group of uber-achievers so that they "can reach levels of success that they may never have seen as attainable." His ultimate goal is to have "every financial advisor I partner with exceeding $1 million in production. I think that's an attainable long-term goal," he says. Anderson feeds off the energy of his advisors. "What really motivates me on a daily basis is knowing that I'm working with people who are not satisfied with the status quo," he says.

Anderson takes his role as an advocate seriously. He looks out for education and training opportunities, and coaches advisors through the practice management aspects of their business. He also helps them navigate challenging markets and organizational changes within the company, which have been numerous over the last few years.

Bank: Citibank
TPM: none
Location: New York
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 50
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 0
Team production 2012: $26.7 million
Team production 2011: $22.8 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $4.2 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $3.6 billion
Avg. production per rep: $614,000 (Estimate)
Years at bank: 11
Years in industry: 13
Age of program: 27 years
Sample of products: Managed accounts, Equities, Mutual funds
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


4. Glenn Brodwater

It was only in June 2011 that Investors Bank launched its investment program. But it's been tremendously successful so far, largely because of the support and backing of senior management, says Glenn Brodwater, vice president and director of retail investment services.

"The fact that this wasn't an afterthought to look like other banks means that it really wants to be in this business and do it well," Brodwater says. "The investment program has been able to grow in a very positive environment, backed by the culture of the bank, which is all about teamwork and support."

At Investors Bank, the culture is one of sharing and mentoring across business lines, he says.

"It isn't just about retail referring customers to us- it's also about what we can uncover for them and give back to them in terms of loan business, core deposits and so on," he says. Because the bank is relationship-driven as opposed to transaction-driven, it's not always easy finding the right individuals for the team. Many prefer to work independently, but they wouldn't be the right fit for the bank, he says.

To be sure, there are challenges for the young investment program. Consider interest rates. It's a challenge to find products to meet customers' needs, but he's confident that the firm offers the right amount of support and resources to ensure the program's success.

Bank: Investors Bank
TPM: Essex National Securities
Location: Short Hills, N.J.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 12
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 0
Team production 2012: $4.3 million
Team production 2011: $1.5 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $182 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $62 million
Avg. production per rep: $358,000
Years at the bank: 2
Years in the industry: 12
Age of program: 2 years
Sample of products: Fixed annuities, Variable annuities, Fixed income
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


5. Paul Restante

What drives the success of a bank program? Advisors who view it as an opportunity to grow their own business, says Paul Restante, program manager of Community Bank in upstate N.Y.

"Reps need to have ownership of their programs," he says. That's the mind-set that he looks for when recruiting.

His team produced $5 million in 2012, up 16% from the year before. And it was difficult to recruit advisors to remote DeWitt, N.Y., outside Syracuse, but with persistent recruiting and offers of more money, he overcame that challenge.

Another challenge was integrating the 11-year-old program into the overall bank. "My challenge was to convince the bank that the broker-dealer investment program was a core part of the bank rather than just a convenience program," he says. Restante encouraged reps to work with business bankers and branch managers and "collectively go out as a team and call on prospects and clients."

He also reduced the number of branches that advisors covered, so they could deepen relationships with banks, clients and the community.

Now he has management's full support. "We had to prove to them that we're a significant part of the overall bank offering, and we've gotten to that point now," Restante says.

Bank: Community Bank, N.A.
TPM: Invest Financial
Location: DeWitt, N.Y.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 26
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 6
Team production 2012: $5.1 million
Team production 2011: $4.4 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $1 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $615.5 million
Avg. production per rep: $195,000
Years at bank: 4
Years in industry: 30
Age of program: 15 years
Sample of products: Mutual funds, ETFs, Equities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


6. John Olerio

John Olerio's team at Webster Bank posted record numbers in 2012 for sales, production, assets under management and new advisory accounts. His leadership in developing the discipline for each advisor to complete a personalized business plan has had a significant contribution to these strong results.

Bank: Webster Bank
TPM: LPL Financial
Location: Waterbury, Conn.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 56
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 20
Team production 2012: $19.1 million
Team production 2011: $16.6 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $2.3 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $2.1 billion
Avg. production per rep: $361,000 (Estimate)
Years at bank: 15
Years in industry: 25
Age of program: 20 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities, Mutual funds, Advisory accounts
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


7. Alec Ardito

Alec Ardito is a positive role model who takes the time to get to know the staffers' styles. He helps them develop their skills to fulfill their goals. His enthusiasm and his style of giving constructive feedback prompt some advisors at Wells Fargo to seek him out as a manager. And even with high expectations of him, they report being pleasantly surprised at his effectiveness as a leader.

Bank: Wells Fargo
TPM: None
Location: West Palm Beach, Fla.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 44
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 58
Team production 2012: $31.3 million
Team production 2011: $31.9 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $4.3 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $3.9 billion
Avg. production per rep: $710,000
Years at bank: 3.5
Years in industry: 20
Age of program: 32 years
Sample of products: Mutual funds, Equities, Annuities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


8. Andrew Kaplan

Over his 19-year tenure as a program manager, Andrew Kaplan has played a critical role in each of his bank's 11 acquisitions, eight of which had existing programs where broker-dealer conversions followed. Kaplan's top priority through all of this has been maintaining a strong alignment between the bank and its investment program.

Bank: New York Community Bank
TPM: LPL Financial
Location: Westbury, N.Y.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 39
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 250
Team production 2012: $15.4 million
Team production 2011: $14 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $2 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $1.8 billion
Avg. production per rep: $385,000
Years at bank: 19
Years in industry: 26
Age of program: 22 years
Sample of products: Fixed annuities, Variable annuities, Mutual funds
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


9. Michael Petramalo

Mike Petramalo takes the time to meet every FA he oversees to discuss ways to improve their productivity, all the while encouraging them to use their strengths to excel. He works to improve the well-being of every employee he works with, and always asks how he can help. Despite his professional success, he emphasizes that family comes first.

Bank: Wells Fargo
TPM: none
Location: Miami
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 50
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 52
Team production 2012: $26 million
Team production 2011: $24.2 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $2.9 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $2.6 billion
Avg. production per rep: $520,000
Years at bank: 3
Years in industry: 23
Age of program: 32 years
Sample of products: Mutual funds, Stocks, Bonds
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


10. Tim Ratty

Some staffers say Tim Ratty is the best manager they've ever had. Unflappable in a crisis and still responsive to his advisors' needs, he encourages professional development. One of his career challenges was in joining the bank channel from a wirehouse, but his team says he's a "quick study" and can speak to any audience, large or small.

Bank: Wells Fargo
TPM: none
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 35
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 54
Team production 2012: $23 million
Team production 2011: $21.5 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $2.6 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $2.2 billion
Avg. production per rep: $657,000
Years at bank: 3.5
Years in industry: 16
Age of program: 32 years
Sample of products: Managed accounts, Mutual funds, Bonds
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


11. Joe Devine

In a region that has seen foreclosures and layoffs, Joe Devine's team has spent a great deal of time on investor education, while also integrating the investment program into the core offering of the credit union. Among other things, they have revamped their website and increased referrals by instituting a compensation incentive program.

Bank: Fairwinds Credit Union
TPM: CUSO Financial Services
Location: Orlando, Fla.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 7
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 5
Team production 2012: $2.5 million
Team production 2011: $1.6 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $258 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $202.7 million
Avg. production per rep: $349,000
Years at bank: 6
Years in industry: 23
Age of program: 13 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities, Mutual funds, Fixed annuities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


12. Mike Haggerty

When Mike Haggerty became program manager in 2006, he began educating executives on the potential ROI of the program, and now investments are tracked as one of the six core offerings at the CU. Other efforts are as varied as creating a center for families with special-needs members, and shifting toward a younger client demographic for long-term sustainability.

Bank: CommunityAmerica Credit Union
TPM: CUSO Financial Services
Location: Lenexa, Kan.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 11
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 0
Team production 2012: $4.4 million
Team production 2011: $3.6 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $349.8 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $262.4 million
Avg. production per rep: $416,000 (Estimate)
Years at bank: 10
Years in industry: 15
Age of program: 11 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities, Mutual funds, Fixed/Indexed annuities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


13. Ken Wren Jr.

In 2004, TowneBank hired the father-and-son team of Ken Wren Sr. and Jr. to operate the investment program. Since then, the younger Wren has not only maintained and grown his own practice, but also has successfully developed his branch, composed of a blend of traditional and fee-based advisors.

Bank: TowneBank
TPM: Raymond James
Location: Suffolk, Va.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 9
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 0
Team production 2012: $5.2 million
Team production 2011: $4.5 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $901 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $771 million
Avg. production per rep: $577,000
Years at bank: 9
Years in industry: 19
Age of program: 9 years
Sample of products: Fee-based accounts, Mutual funds, Annuities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


14. Jules Mbogi

Jules Mbogi brings more than 14 years of experience in international wealth management to the UN, where he heads a team of multilingual advisors. His areas of expertise include international portfolio management, investment, retirement, and estate and insurance planning. Previously, he was an advisor at Citigroup's international division.

Bank: United Nations Federal Credit Union
TPM: Raymond James
Location: New York, N.Y.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 4
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 0
Team production 2012: $2.4 million
Team production 2011: $15 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $171,.8 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $127.2 million
Avg. production per rep: $603,470
Years at bank: 8
Years in industry: 13
Age of program: 15 years
Sample of products: Annuities, Mutual funds, Fixed income
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


15. Aaron Persons

When Aaron Persons became program manager at University Federal CU in 2010, production was low, turnover high and branch employees had lost faith in the program. To better integrate the program into core offerings, he promoted a "give to get" mind-set where advisors should be the ones giving referrals. He also empowered reps to make decisions.

Bank: University Federal Credit Union
TPM: CUSO Financial Services
Location: Austin, Texas
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 6
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 5
Team production 2012: $1.6 million
Team production 2011: $1.3 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $174 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $112.8 million
Avg. production per rep: $365,000 (Estimate)
Years at bank: 2.5
Years in industry: 12
Age of program: 10 years
Sample of products: Mutual funds, Managed accounts, Variable annuities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


16. Kevin Walrath

Kevin Walrath has helped Northwest Federal CU build a diversified wealth management program. And while it's come a long way, this is just the first stage of its evolution. The bank has committed to the advisory model and embraces a fiduciary responsibility toward clients. The bank owes its success to the trust that clients have in advisors.

Bank: Northwest Federal Credit Union
TPM: LPL Financial
Location: Herndon, Va.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 7
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 0
Team production 2012: $5.8 million
Team production 2011: $5.1 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $724.2 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $587.6 million
Avg. production per rep: $831,400
Years at bank: 6
Years in industry: 21
Age of program: 18 years
Sample of products: Advisory accounts, Mutual funds, Variable annuities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


17. Robert Leach

Robert Leach spent .the first eight years or so at Heritage Bank as the sole producer before he started to slowly hire advisors in key markets served by his bank. He still gets in the office every day at 6 a.m. to make calls from lists the bank provides or make calls to companies he works with on their 401(k) plans.

Bank: Heritage Bank of the South
TPM: LPL Financial
Location: Albany, Georgia
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 3
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 0
Team production 2012: $2.1 million
Team production 2011: $1.6 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $253 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $184.1 million
Avg. production per rep: $518,300
Years at bank: 11
Years in industry: 15
Age of program: 11 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities, Mutual funds, Advisory accounts
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


18. Jack Nelson

Jack Nelson focuses on building a fully integrated team to help clients achieve their financial goals. He encourages his team to gain a full understanding of each client's needs by utilizing a holistic, consultative approach. He puts his 30-plus years of experience to work to gain clients' trust and ensure that they realize his team has their best interests at heart.

Bank: Johnson Bank
TPM: Invest Financial
Location: Racine, Wis.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 9
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/12): 5
Team production 2012: $6 million
Team production 2011: $5.3 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $984.5 million
Team AUM (12/2011): $888.5 million
Avg. production per rep: $662,000
Years at bank: 1
Years in industry: 30
Age of program: 25 years
Sample of products: Unit investment trusts, Mutual funds, Equities
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


19. Mike Zito

The biggest challenge this year for Mike Zito has been keeping his advisors focused and motivated during a very rapidly changing environment, He provides honest feedback, which he feels is one reason he sees very little attrition. He is focused on growth and is constantly evaluating Trustmark's footprint and looking for gaps and openings to add advisors.

Bank: Trustmark National Bank
TPM: LPL Financial
Location: Jackson, Miss.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/2012): 14
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/2012): 70
Team production 2012: $7.8 million
Team production 2011: $7 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $1.34 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $1.26 billion
Avg. production per rep: $468,314
Years at bank: 10
Years in industry: 23
Age of program: 10 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities, Mutual funds, Advisory accounts
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? No


20. Douglas Wicks

Doug Wicks runs the Kinecta program with an entrepreneurial spirit and allows his advisors to run their practices as their own business. He's there to help, though, as he has an open-door policy to address any issues they face. He was BIC's top program manager in last year's ranking, just one year in a consistent growth pattern in the competitive southern California market.

Bank: Kinecta Federal Credit Union
TPM: LPL Financial
Location: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
FAs manager oversees (12/31/12): 18
LBEs manager oversees (12/31/2): 0
Team production 2012: $8.6 million
Team production 2011: $7.9 million
Team AUM (12/2012): $1.1 billion
Team AUM (12/2011): $883.1 million
Avg. production per rep: $538,421 (Estimate)
Years at bank: 12
Years in industry: 25
Age of program: 15 years
Sample of products: Variable annuities, Mutual funds, Alternative investments
Do you decide what products are on the shelf? Yes


Honorable Mentions
Here are the next 10 program managers from our ranking (listed alphabetically, with bank and TPM)

Nancy Almond Columbia State Bank (Cetera)

John Ballard Cadence Bank (LPL)

Tim Bush Ball State Bank & Trust (Cetera)

Gary Collier Pinnacle Bank (Raymond James)

Jess Dohner Anchor Bank (LPL)

Jan Krug Tri-Counties Bank (Raymond James)

Tommy Lee PriorityOne Bank (Raymond James)

Rachel Risberg Royal Credit Union (Invest Financial)

Matt Varney Bank of Colorado (Raymond James)

Melanie Weischwill First Victoria National Bank (Cetera)