Todd Sacks may have missed his calling as a ship captain. Sacks, a senior vice president for Morgan Stanley who was one of On Wall Street's Top 10 branch managers, runs his Shrewsbury, New Jersey, office like a naval officer: He starts his day early, he's laser-focused on details, and he takes care of his crew.
Sacks prides himself on personal touches, taking time each morning to review the previous day's business, and sending congratulatory emails to advisers when they land a big account or post strong production numbers.
"It's one of those things that my advisers have come to expect from me," he says. "I will send out an email to them, and the email typically says, 'Nice day' or 'Great job on closing that business,' because I'll drill down to the detail." And if a major win or high-production day does happen to go unrecognized?
"They'll say, 'Hey, what happened to my email today?' " Sacks says.
The 24-year industry veteran is a self-described "physical fitness fanatic" who starts his day at 4:30 and works out while catching up on the markets via CNBC or Bloomberg before driving 52 miles to the office.
At the branch well ahead of normal business hours, Sacks takes a lap around both floors of the office, greeting his early-arriving employees. That walkabout is very much in keeping with Sacks' management style, and serves as a not-so-subtle indicator to the 50 advisers he manages that showing up early is encouraged in Shrewsbury.
"I do that for the primary reason that I want everyone — everyone who's here, by the way — to see that I'm here, I'm engaged, and I also like to take a temperature read of who's here," he says. "I want to make sure I'm not only visible, I'm also motivating."
Sacks, a University of Miami grad, came up through the ranks at Prudential Securities and then Smith Barney, eventually running a complex of three branches based in Bedminster, New Jersey, before taking over the Shrewsbury branch as part of what is now Morgan Stanley's southern New Jersey complex. In that one branch, which holds $4.5 billion in assets under management, Sacks oversees an operation that is larger than the previous three that he managed combined.
Sacks says that he typically takes two days a week to focus on recruiting — and that's just about the only times his door is closed. As he looks to grow the branch, he says, he is most interested in finding advisers who will be a good fit for the "familial-like atmosphere" at the office.
"I've turned away or declined more recruits than I've recruited over the last 10 years, and it's just because it has to be the right fit," Sacks says. "I want to grow the business, but I also want to protect the business. And if you don't protect the business, you certainly aren't going to grow the business."
Sacks says he sets the tone for the branch. "The office can tell if you're up; the office can tell if you're down," he says. "They are observing you, and if you're upbeat and approachable and truly care, then that, in my opinion, is what it will feel like when you walk into this office. I take a lot of pride in that."
This bio originally ran as part package of profiles about On Wall Street's top 10 branch managers: A 'hire' authority for advisers and the industry