Bill Carroll, Head of Investment Solutions, Managing Director, UBS Wealth Management Americas, discusses his 28 years in the securities business.
I grew up in Paramus, N.J., the youngest of three. I was always entrepreneurial as a kid. I had a paper route at 12. All the other kids wanted their routes to be in a 10-15 block radius. I thought I could invent a better mousetrap, so I went to a nursing home near my house and said, "Hey, how'd you like me to drop off 50 papers a day?" While the other kids spent hours on their routes, I made one stop and was done.
I always wanted to be a stockbroker because when I was a kid, my best friend's dad was a stockbroker and that kid had better stuff than I did. I didn't know what a stockbroker was. I just knew I wanted to be one.
I attended Fairleigh Dickinson University and graduated with my B.S. in economics and finance. I was never the best player, but I was captain of the varsity baseball and hockey teams because I always aspired to lead
When I graduated, I saw an ad from my hometown Merrill Lynch manager for a seminar. I went into the branch and said to the receptionist, "I'd like to speak to Bill Hall." And she said, "Who are you?" I said, "I'd like to apply to work here," and she said, "He's busy."
I knew he had to walk past the men's room eventually, so I waited three and a half hours in the hallway. When he finally walked by, I went up to him and said, "Hi, Mr. Hall. I just graduated from college and I'd like to come and work for you." And he said, "Why are you stalking me?" He thought if he gave me an interview, I'd leave him alone.
He interviewed me and hired me as a trainee. I'd spent 10 years at Merrill Lynch building a business when Smith Barney offered me a spot in its management training program. There, I had the chance to work with Sandy Weill and Jamie Dimon. It was like going to the best business school. I saw how they made decisions and analyzed situations.
After training, I was named branch manager in Albany, N.Y. Two years after that, my family wanted to come back home. We moved and I commuted 60 miles each way for three years. In 2003, UBS offered me the chance to run my hometown branch.
I was named regional director for the Mid-Atlantic in 2009, national sales manager in 2010 and a member of the executive committee in 2012. I got my current role two years ago. It meant going from a client-facing role to one in which I am responsible for the platform of everything we offer. What I've learned through all of this is that no matter your management role, you aren't managing revenues or products. You're managing people, their careers and their outcomes, and you have to take that responsibility very seriously.
As Told to Kris Frieswick