The Strange Group, Janney Montgomery Scott, Richmond, Va.
Registered Rep: After nearly 30 years in the business, you manage over $400 million in assets. During that time, you've generated a tremendous amount of business on the golf course.
Allan Strange: Well, most successful advisors have a marketing niche or strategy. And, coming from a strong golfing background, I found mine very early on. (Strange is the identical twin brother of two-time U.S. Golf Open Champion Curtis Strange.) I played pro-golf for 3 1/2 years in the late 1970s and made it to the PGA tour. But my enthusiasm started to wane.
My uncle, who managed [then] Paine Webber's Washington, D.C. branch, encouraged me to give the brokerage business a try. When I was first building my business, I joined several country clubs and typically spent three days a week on the greens, prospecting for clients. I worked very hard not to be viewed as an ex-pro who'd become a golf bum. I know my golfing skills — and my resemblance to my brother — has gotten many prospects' attention. But, it was my investment knowledge and philosophy that determined if they would let me manage their money.
RR: In 2009, you moved from Smith Barney to Janney. Why?
AS: I've never been a fan of the wirehouse world. I absolutely gave it a shot. But, the business model really didn't fit my needs. One problem I see with the big firms is that they're always seeking out high-net-worth investors. Well, how do you define that? By taking this stance, I feel the wires are turning their backs on 80 percent of the population. This is why the regionals have had such a coup recently.
RR: You feel the links can be a great place for reps to network — regardless of their golfing skill?
AS: Absolutely. I always ask the people I play with to bring two friends. You're spending five hours with two or three people you don't know. You're not aggressively pursuing their accounts, because you're playing a game. But, what you do for a living always comes up. Inevitably, your financial expertise piques their curiosity.
RR: While these days, your existing clients generate plenty of referral business, you still prospect on the greens at least once a week?
AS: Definitely. I also host client appreciation and charitable events there. I was taught never to stop prospecting. As the last few years have shown us, you never know what changes may lay ahead.