While financial advisors are the face of the industry, the people clients interact with most, branch managers are no less important. They have long played a vital role in the careers of their advisors, acting as mentors and coaches. But the demands on branch managers have multiplied in recent years. The pressure to recruit new talent is more intense. Corporate cultures have changed in the wake of a wave of mergers, in some cases multiplying the number of advisors for which branch managers are responsible. And the ranks of branch managers are graying, causing firms to rethink where the next generation of branch management will come from.

“At the end of the day, being a manager, you feel alone on an island,” says Thomas Hirsch, a Raymond James & Associates branch manager based in Louisville, Ky. Hirsch is one of 10 winners of the 2014 Branch Manager Awards given by On Wall Street in partnership with New York Life/MainStay Investments.

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