During the past 10 years, perhaps no role in the wealth management industry has changed more than that of the branch manager. Usually a former advisor, a branch manager was typically in charge of just one facility, serving many roles within the branch. To the advisor, the branch manager was the boss, a confidant, friend and protector who understood what the advisor did every day. To the firm, he or she was an entrepreneur in charge of a profit center and responsible for delivering a consistent profit to the parent company.

The wirehouses also had extensive “benches”; managers in waiting who were being trained to effectively lead a branch. When the manager position at a large branch opened because a manager retired or was forced out, it created a chain of openings within the system. The manager of a midsize branch would apply to head the large branch, the manager of a small branch would apply to lead the midsize branch, and one of the managers in waiting would get off the “bench” to take his or her first shot at running a branch, usually in a smaller community.

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