Rick Frueh, chairman and CEO of GunnAllen Financial, an independent full-service brokerage firm in Tampa, Fla., has been busy of late poaching senior managers from rival firms. Registered Rep. wrote about the firm's rapid growth and ensuing problems exactly one year ago. Rep.'s Staff Editor John Churchill caught up with Frueh for an update.

Registered Rep.: GunnAllen has been on a hiring tear again, but in upper management, can you tell us about that?

Rick Frueh: We've made a lot of senior-management hires in the past year. David Levine from Ryan Beck is our new national sales director. He's helping us improve our advisor force and build out our wealth-management platform. And as we've expanded our capital markets department, we added Dean Tanella, who headed Raymond James' institutional sales. I've added a new chief technology officer, Larry Paley from J.P. Morgan; a new general counsel, David Jarvis, from Wachovia; and a new chief operating officer, Chris Frankel, former CEO of two of Sterne Agee's divisions. There are more. The idea is to continue to raise the bar of the senior-management team.

RR: How successful have you been at recruiting producers?

RF: Well, we're on pace to add $35 million in new production for the year. About 40 percent of that is wirehouse reps, 10 percent regional and the balance comes from other independents. Our minimum production requirement for new reps is $150,000. We average $168,000, but we're targeting $200,000 to $250,000 producers. It's not about the number of reps, we're targeting production.

RR: So what improvements are you making to attract them?

RF: We've improved our processes and we've invested a lot in technology; for example, we're developing tools for reps that allow them to aggregate client-asset data and navigate it with CRM, all on one platform. In our capital markets area, we've added a venture capital platform for wealthy clients, which is run out of Chicago by two investment bankers that are attorneys. Those are just a couple of examples.