Webster Investment Services has managed to step up its revenue production, thanks to one simple move: it hired more advisors.

Over the past two years, the number of advisors jumped to 60 from 45, an important factor in the unit’s recent performance, said Tom Howe, president of Webster Investment Services, the retail brokerage unit of Webster Bank.

In the second quarter, the unit generated a $6.4 million in fee income, the most it’s ever produced in any quarter. While the market rally played a role in boosting revenue, Howe attributes the improvement to the increase in advisors.

“The benefit of additional advisors has helped us generate more revenue than we ever did before in the second quarter,” he said in a telephone interview.  The 60 full-time advisors, which include 15 junior brokers, cover 169 branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island and collectively manage just under $2.5 billion in assets.

Howe plans to hire more advisors, though he declined to say precisely how many more. “We intend to continue growing the number over the next couple of years and fitting them in appropriately to partner with all of our other business lines as we have tried to do in the past,” he said.

The unit has been growing at a brisk clip, with revenues up in excess of 10% for most of the last three to five years. Howe expects to keep up the pace, saying that “the company has no intention of letting me reduce my growth rate over the next several years.”

Howe is relying on his talented team of advisors to drive the growth. The unit works hard to retain its top advisors by offering them a competitive compensation plan that recognizes and rewards them appropriately, Howe said. Another perk is the support the top producers receive from associate brokers.  These junior advisors have played an important role in helping senior financial consultants grow their books of business.

“We spent significant time training them [and] getting them ready to meet with clients,” Howe said of the junior brokers in the unit.  The junior advisors have all the required securities, insurance and advisory licenses and work full-time under the direction of a senior financial consultant to whom they have been assigned.

The unit rewards its top producers but weeds out the weak ones. “We’re constantly working to improve the bottom tier of our producers. It’s something that we take very seriously and it’s become a very high priority for us,” he said. 

A strong advisory team is not the only reason for Howe’s optimism in building the business. The growth prospects are bright given the huge Baby Boomer market the unit serves, said Howe. With some 10,000 Baby Boomers expected to retire every day for the next 12 to 13 years, there’s strong demand for advice, according to Howe.  

The unit focuses on helping mass-affluent retirees and pre-retirees make their money last through retirement. “We have a lot of skill in helping people determine how they can create income streams for their retirement years,” he said. The brokerage team helps clients determine their cash flow needs and how to protect their income flow against inflation. It also assists clients with legacy benefits.

“People who get to the point of retirement don’t know what they should be doing or what they should be invested in or how they’re going to generate income,” Howe said. “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity.” 

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