Seven Questions With Tony Sirianni: Securities America
AdvisorHub’s CEO Tony Sirianni sat down with Gregg Johnson, Executive Vice President of Branch Office Development at Securities America, and talked about the industry. Tony sits with established leaders of the largest firms, as well as up and coming disruptors, and asks them more or less the same questions, so Advisors can get a sense of how each firm addresses the same issues from different perspectives. Taken together, they are a very interesting collection of influential points of view, and display the diversity of opinions and conclusions in Wealth Management today. You may even get to know these industry leaders on a more personal level.
Q: Why did you get into this business in the first place?
A: I grew up immersed in athletics. I watched sports, read books on sports and played multiple sports throughout high school and college. I enjoyed the team atmosphere and competition, and proactively looked for leadership roles. With that foundation, I thought I wanted to get into coaching after college, but I had an older brother who got into financial services as a financial planner. I became interested in what he was doing and saw an avenue where I could continue that leadership and competition I thrived on while adding a component of helping others (clients) achieve personal financial goals. I followed in my brother’s footsteps, obtained my licenses, and became a financial planner.
Q: Looking back at the changes over the last 15 years, which have been the most damaging to our business in your opinion? What have been the most exciting and positive?
A: The market meltdown of 2008 created repercussions across our industry, including a large impact on investor confidence and trust. As some clients lost faith in the markets and big Wall Street institutions, many either stopped investing or started to try to do it themselves, with less than productive results. Fortunately, our advisors have been able to work with many of these clients to help rebuild that faith in the markets over the last decade.
As far as positive and exciting developments, I would focus on the evolution of technology. Access to information and transparency is crucial and the advances in technology help all parties (including investors, advisors, IABs and clearing firms). When coupled with a continued focus on the advisor and how she/he can serve clients, this continues to be transformational for our industry. For example, advisors can provide outstanding service to clients from a distance and can stay in the business longer due to the flexibility technology affords them.
Q: How has your firm adapted to address the rapidly changing Wealth Management landscape?
A: We’ve broadened our advisory platform offerings as well as the ways we serve the advisory space through the growth and development of Arbor Point Advisors, one of our two corporate RIAs, as well as through the introduction of an RIA-Only affiliation option. We continually enhance our technology and recently updated Managed Opportunities, our turn-key managed account platform, to make it even easier and even more efficient for advisors and their staff to use. Overall, we are firmly committed to serving independent business owners and supporting their ability to make decisions on how to best serve their clients.
Q: What part of the Advisor business will never change?
A: Interaction with the client – technology enhancements and new competitors entering the space will continue to evolve and allow clients direct access to information and investments, but there will always be a need for a personal touch and professional advice. Trusted advisors who deliver much-needed advice help clients deal with the emotions (such as fear and greed) that can often accompany investing.
Q: What 3 things differentiate Securities America from the competition?
A: Ownership, thirst for innovation and a deeply rooted passion for supporting independent business owners / entrepreneurs.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann, we offer our advisors access to services unavailable at many other independent advisory and brokerage firms. These include trust services, insurance and estate planning, fixed-income trading, syndicate offerings, annuities and employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Our continual thirst for innovation drives us to provide our advisors new and better ways to grow their businesses. We foster creativity in our advisors and employees. This creates a collaborative culture where everyone enjoys the freedom to generate new ideas. We can quickly take an idea from concept to implementation.
Over the past 35 years, Securities America has been built on a philosophy of supporting the independent financial advisor, which remains a cornerstone of our culture today. Our business model has evolved to support financial institutions, as well. Because we provide tools and support to the bank or credit union owners, executives and advisors, we have an added advantage in today’s competitive market.
Q: Would you encourage your children to enter the Wealth Management business?
A: Absolutely! In fact, I have and continue to do so. I have three daughters and they’ve been exposed to the business since they were able to walk. I took them to conferences and taught them to interact in a social setting with advisors and my peers. They were given a solid understanding of our business and met so many outstanding professionals that work in our industry.
My middle daughter graduated from college this May and has done internships the last three summers at Securities America. She has met with and shadowed several successful financial advisors over that time, spent time with our Ladenburg Asset Management professionals to learn the asset management side and participated in our Link to the Future program.
Link to the Future offers college students including the daughters and sons of our advisors the opportunity to attend Securities America and Ladenburg conferences for an up close and personal look at Financial Advice as a career. I’m extremely excited that she has accepted an offer to join one of our most successful female advisors’ practices as an Associate Advisor and will learn more about the business from her.
Q: What are your interests outside of the Wealth Management biz?
A: All three of my daughters played competitive fastpitch softball and I coached all of them at some point. The youngest graduated from high school this year so those coaching days are behind me and now I can concentrate on my golf game. I also enjoy hiking, boating, and volunteer work.