WealthManagement.com: Looking at your team, there seem to be a lot of younger faces. How did you come up with such a comparatively young group?
Jim Maher: It’s by design. There’s about an eight- to 10-year age bracket between each level of the team. Since the average generation gap is about 12 years, we’re right at the front end of that each time. You want your staff to be able to understand what the client is saying. When you’re a similar age, there’s some credibility and you can communicate more easily—you intuitively pick up on something.
WealthManagement.com: How did you go about putting together the team?
JM: I looked for people who were looking to complete advanced designations. We have 16 professional designations on staff. I looked at midlevel, younger individuals who were accelerating at trust companies. With my background, that was always an area I was interested in. There’s a terrific talent pool there and it’s hard for them to advance, so they need to look elsewhere—that’s our sweet spot.
WealthManagement.com: When hiring, what do you look for?
JM: The number one thing is work ethic. I ask them to tell me about their first job—tell me how you work. It’s the number one skill a person has to have to succeed. Values are also another thing. You can quickly get a sense—is there a pride in their work?
WealthManagement.com: Do you have a specific screening process?
JM: It’s very much a rifle shot type of approach. I’ll run across someone and then they’re on my bucket list until I get them. I’d say the process is deliberate and slow. We don’t have testing, but we do the DISC personality assessment and Myers Briggs tests as a company so people can see whom they’re working with.
WealthManagement.com: What’s the client response been like?
JM: Our business niche is helping people through transitioning with their businesses. I find myself with the older generation who are looking to retire, looking to slow down, looking to diversify. But another family member will work with the next generation on the team. They’re very close in age. And with that mirroring, it makes us extremely understanding. That is something people don’t realize. We hear from clients all the time that they like the fact that we’re not significantly older than they are.