Steward Partners Celebrates 60X Growth at Sixth Annual Symposium -Dlight News


“Ten years ago, right now, Steward was an idea on a piece of paper,” Steward Partners CEO Jim Gold said on May 11. It was the final day of Steward’s sixth annual symposium at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.

“We applied to incorporate our LLC in Delaware and on July 3rd we received an email from the state saying our independent corporation was approved,” he said. “On the eve of Independence Day. And I said I thought it was a sign.”

The company hired its first consultant in late September 2013 and ended the year with three consultants and $50 million in assets, according to Gold. Less than 10 years later, Steward Partners consists of 225 advisors who serve approximately $30 billion in client assets.

More than two-thirds of these consultants were in Nashville with their families, senior management and the Steward Board of Directors for the annual meeting. New partners were presented with Steward Partners jerseys, which indicated the order in which they had joined the firm – a tradition Gold began early on.

“It shows that we are teammates,” he said. “I pictured it almost like the NFL draft, where you get drafted and you come out on stage and hold up your jersey and take pictures.

“Now it’s cool to see consultants visit another office and then come in and say, ‘Wait a minute, you were number 26?’ Oh my god I’m 180. Wow. You were here in the beginning.’”

It’s this culture that attracted Amy Sabin, partner and general manager of the Sabin Group at Dallas-based Steward Partners – and jersey number 110. She joined Steward in July 2019 to escape the hyper-competitive atmosphere at JP Morgan Securities.

“I just couldn’t handle it anymore,” she said. “Here we support everyone else. Every other financial advisor, the client associates, we all own the business and we all work toward the same goal, which is to serve clients. There couldn’t be a better feeling and I’ve been in the business for 29 years.”

“It’s a company that focuses on attracting nice people, because there’s no better word,” said Denis Poljak, of Poljak Group Wealth Management at Steward Partners in Shreveport, La. – Jersey No. 142, directs.

Poljak, who left Morgan Stanley to join Steward in April 2021, said he was initially intrigued by the flexibility of the partnership model and the freedom to work in the best interests of his clients.

“Everyone’s happy with everyone’s success — really happy,” he said. “It adds value to the company, so you’d expect that to be the case everywhere, but sometimes colleagues in the same office in the larger wirehouses and elsewhere see each other as competitors. It’s different here. There is a wonderful collaboration and people work together. And when someone is doing well, there is genuine happiness across the board.”

Gold said the symposium was attended by ten potential recruits, adding that hearing from the company’s board and investors is important for both existing partners and potential prospects.

“We did that last year and the success rate was very high,” Gold said. “The people who are here have almost all made a verbal commitment to join the company.”

Among other things, Steward celebrated the Fall 2020 acquisition of broker/dealer Umpqua Investments, now Steward Partners Investment Solutions, which transitioned fully about a year ago.

“The best is yet to come,” Gold said, quoting a text by Frank Sinatra that appeared on t-shirts at this year’s event. “We’ve made the big change and can now take advantage of all the benefits that come with being a broker/dealer.”

Another thing to watch out for, Gold added, is Stewbot – Steward’s new AI-powered chatbot. Stewbot has digested Steward’s 300-page operations manual and is able to guide employees through procedures like hiring an intern or handling outside business in seconds.

“A company of our size can be very flexible from a technology, platform and resource perspective,” he said. “You’re going to see that, and I think it’s going to be a real differentiator for people who want flexibility in running their business.

“We’re always thinking about that,” Gold said, noting that Steward’s multi-custodial platform also supports different affiliation models. “We want to give people freedom of choice.”

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