The Kehrer Group Top Directors Awards recognize the leaders of the top performing investment services firms in financial institutions.  We invite nominations from the entire bank and credit union financial advice community, and use a transparent, data driven evaluation process to identify the winners.  This year we acknowledged 63 finalists and presented 35 awards at the awards ceremony in Chapel Hill on November 8th.

We’re often asked what it takes to be a Top Director.  As is our wont, we turned to the data for the answers.

As you might expect, the advisors in the Top Directors’ firm are outstanding producers, with average annual gross revenue that is 40% higher than the typical financial institution-based advisor.  But there is only a small gap of 5% between their production and the advisors in the finalist firms.

But the top firms aren’t being managed just to maximize advisor productivity, they are also delivering on other key objectives of the firm and the host institution.

For example, they are serving more of the institution’s customers or members than the norm.  The firms managed by the Top Directors have customer/member penetration of 6%, which is 54% better than the typical bank or credit union.  And the gap between being a finalist and a Top Director firm is twice as large as it is for the advisor productivity metric—11%.

But advisors in the Top Director firms are also achieving greater wallet share; average revenue per client is 51% greater than the average firm and 69% above the median.  And the difference between being a finalist and being a Top Director is even larger than for the other Key Performance Indicators – 14%.

The Top Directors were able to achieve client widening and deepening through much thicker advisor coverage.  More advisors in the branches enables the firm to serve more customers/members and achieve deeper client penetration at the same time.

Note that for the other Key Performance Indicators—advisor productivity, household penetration, and revenue per client— the finalists all exceeded the benchmarks for the top quartile of firms, and the Top Directors scored even higher.  But for advisor coverage, the Top Directors were essentially even with the top quartile mark, and some finalists had thicker advisor coverage. This reflects the balancing act Directors face in meeting the multiple objectives of the advisors (personal productivity and earnings), the institution (customer/member penetration), and the firm (deepening client relationships).  It takes more than adding advisors to be a Top Director.

Next year’s Top Directors Awards Conference is set for November 7-8, 2024.