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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WSR continues its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the wealth management industry by honoring AAPI Heritage Month with a third installment of the WSR Pathfinder Awards – a series of invitation-only awards honoring prominent senior executives of minority and underrepresented backgrounds.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, WSR continues its commitment to underrepresented communities by honoring six outstanding wealth management professionals as Hispanic Top Industry Leaders in the fourth installment of the invitation-only WSR Pathfinder Awards.
Wealth Exemplar Awards
This week, WSR launches a new series of invitation-only awards to celebrate the best of the wealth management industry – the WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards. The awards honor outstanding firms across multiple categories, impactful and trend-setting M&A deals and a visionary leading executive who has successfully implemented change in our industry.
This series of annual awards follows the success of the WSR Pathfinder Awards series, which celebrates diversity and gives the voices of underrepresented communities a platform by awarding top wealth management executives from underrepresented backgrounds, coinciding with Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Retirement Income Solutions Provider of the Year goes to the top three firms that specialize in helping financial advisors align their clients with retirement income planning and retirement income generative vehicles. Firms must service a minimum of $250 million in client assets.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards for Private Equity-Backed Firm of the Year go to the top three wealth management firms that have received significant or majority equity investments from private equity, venture capital or other institutional investors for expansion and growth purposes. There is a minimum asset level of $1 billion.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards for Hybrid RIA of the Year go to the top three RIA firms that offer fee-based solutions as well as commissionable services in affiliation with a broker-dealer, through either W-2 or independent financial advisors, or both. There is a minimum asset level of $250 million.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards for Asset Manager Platform of the Year go to the top three firms that have a significant presence in the wealth management industry and operate as third-party asset managers that serve B2B wealth management platforms. There is a minimum asset level of $10 billion.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Deal of the Year honors the top wealth management M&A deals of the year across five categories: Mega ($20 billion and over), Large ($7 billion to $20 billion), Upper-Mid-Sized ($2 billion to $7 billion), Mid-Sized ($500 million to $2 billion) and Boutique ($200 million to $500 million). Deals are selected based on their impact and importance to the industry as well as how they reflect ongoing industry trends.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Family Office of the Year goes to the top three financial advisory firms with a majority or significant focus on ultra-high net worth client families. They must engage in – themselves or through affiliates – sophisticated, tailored services typically offered to this clientele such as concierge services, tax and estate planning and art investment advice. Firms must oversee a minimum of $500 million in client assets.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Practice Management Platform of the Year goes to the top three practice management platforms either in-house within a wealth management firm or delivered via a third-party consultancy or solutions provider, with offerings that may include, among other areas, consulting, operational efficiency, succession planning or advisor marketing.
The WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Person of the Year is someone who, at an individual level, has exhibited exemplary vision for transforming the wealth management industry and has taken significant concrete steps to do so. This award also recognizes the year’s standout distinction as part of a broader career that’s shown consistent vision and boldness.
Our inaugural winner is Dan Arnold, President and Chief Executive Officer of LPL Financial. Arnold assumed the CEO position from Mark Casady in January 2017, having already served as president since March 2015 and previously as chief financial officer from June 2012 to March 2015. He joined LPL in January 2007 after the acquisition of UVEST Financial Services Group, where he had worked for 13 years.