Current Winners

Pathfinder Awards

As part of our celebration of Women’s History Month, WSR honors an outstanding enterprise guardian – Peggy Ho, General Counsel and Chief Risk Officer of Commonwealth Financial Network, as Woman General Counsel of the Year in the WSR Pathfinder Awards series.

With 14 years of experience in compliance, legal, risk and government relations at LPL Financial, Ho took the reins of legal and risk at Commonwealth a year ago, transforming her team by empowering them with new skills and resources and enhancing processes and metrics to identify issues quickly and focus her team where attention is most needed.

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For years, M&A was seen as an old boys’ club. But that perception is fading. Though a glass ceiling remains, women are now playing a decisive role in some of the biggest deals in wealth management, including those involving top private equity firms and investment banks.  

We chose our honorees from a large group of women leaders executing M&A transactions across the industry. The WSR editors examined a range of criteria such as years of leadership experience, impact on and recognition within the industry, charitable activities, and deal size and significance.

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Perhaps one of the most misunderstood yet mission-critical jobs in any enterprise is marketing. It ensures that clients and potential clients know the firm’s value proposition – a multi-faceted task covering social media and email, personal calls and pitches, branding and perception, and informing product and service creators about client needs.

In other words, marketing executives must multitask across many areas within an organization, simultaneously, while always having a keen awareness of multiple departments’ perspectives and goals.

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There’s no pressure like the stress of responsibility for an entire organization – whether CEO, president or other top executive.  Leading a successful wealth management enterprise means ultimate responsibility for every client, partner and employee, accountability to regulators and shareholders, and much more.

There’s also no reward like leadership, with a sense of satisfaction that a job well done means clients served with quality products and services while employees can pay rent, tuition and mortgages.

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Like the first officer on a naval vessel, a COO executes strategy throughout an enterprise, monitoring the finances, legal and compliance risks, employees, partners, strategic accomplishments and yet-to-reach goals on a daily basis. 

Needless to say, a COO must possess extreme organization skills, an ability to envision all the parts of the organization as real-time moving pieces, excellent persuasion and leadership skills and boundless drive and energy.

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Wind the clock back two years, to May 2020 – the pandemic rages and as a marketing services firm, your advisor clients have always relied on in-person workshops and meetings as primary marketing methods. Now the advisors, clients and potential clients are, in many instances, sticking close to home and leaning towards virtual meetings.

Kaijsa Kurstin joined wealth management marketing solutions provider White Glove as Executive Vice President of Marketing at this nadir of the pandemic as traditional marketing methods collapsed, and successfully led her new firm and advisor clients in the turnaround from in-person to 100% digital.

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WSR’s editors reviewed women on the rise in wealth management for demonstrated successful leadership in their field, industry recognition and the potential to continue rising in influence and prominence, naming three executives to our Top Women Rising Stars list.

Of course, there are many other women rising in wealth management and our industry continues to seek the best ways to promote women’s careers, opportunity and advancement, a topic we cover in several articles this month.

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In recent years many C-suites have onboarded chief experience officers (CXOs) as firms recognize the value of harmonizing multiple functions to go beyond simple surveys and drive a unique and essential client experience that not only elevates a company’s brand and revenues but truly distinguishes it among peers and competitors.

Did your client think the onboarding process was painless? Does the client like your branding? Does your advertising tell clients you understand them? These questions – and many more – define client experience and could subtly, in unheard thoughts and conversations, build or raze your reputation.

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For this category, we have chosen to honor two individuals who have demonstrated remarkable leadership in our industry and one duo that cooperates on a noble mission specifically designed to assist underrepresented advisors in growing their business.

We worked through an extremely competitive process with multiple candidates to arrive at the final list of these honorees, reviewing criteria such as the years in the industry of each candidate, their accomplished work, brands supported, commitment and passion and visibility within the industry.

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Growth & Innovation Awards

COMING SOON!

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