The financial services industry is all about building trust. But what does it take to create those strong relationships and build lasting bonds?
We talked with Keith Huber, Head of Sales and the Branch Network at E*TRADE, who has 30 years of experience in the industry, for his advice on the topic. While we don't want to give it all away too soon, Huber suggests looking at things from the client's point of view so you can truly understand their need, and then offer a solution.
Read on for what qualities he looks for when hiring and more tips for success in a client-facing role. Then check out open jobs at E*Trade.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? What led you to your job at E*TRADE?
I always knew I wanted to work in the financial services industry, but I started out, as many do, in a producer role and graduated to management in the late '90s. I've been in the field for 30 years at various firms—Citibank, Shearson Lehman Brothers, Waterhouse Securities, and Charles Schwab. Now I'm the Head of Sales and the Branch Network at E*TRADE.
How did you know E*TRADE was going to be a good fit?
I actually competed against E*TRADE for many years from other firms. But, I always had a lot of respect for them and the quick fashion in which they executed. The smaller size and flat organization appealed to me and the competitive nature of the employees was inspiring.
Having grown up in New York, the opportunity to work for a New York headquartered firm was also a draw. I was excited to use my experience and all that I had learned at other firms to get things to market faster at E*TRADE.
Do you have a moment in your career that stands out as being pivotal? Tell us about that.
Earlier in my career I ran a small branch office in the suburbs. I had success and produced results with my team and was asked to step into a much bigger role, running a larger office with four times the staff size and many moving parts and complexities. The person I was reporting to had confidence in my ability and inspired me to take that leadership leap.
Being a competitive person, I wanted to succeed and having the full support of my manager in this new situation was pivotal.
What was the best thing you ever did to further your career?
I took risks and pushed myself. You have to challenge yourself every day.
What are you working on right now that excites or inspires you?
Right now we're in the midst of a hiring blitz for financial consultants in the branch network, increasing the headcount by 15% in 2019. We are also training our financial consultants aggressively in sales techniques and rolling out the E*TRADE Advisor Network (EAN). This will help our clients with higher end wealth management and financial planning needs by pairing them with a registered investment advisor that has been vetted and approved by E*TRADE.
What is your best advice for finding success in a client-facing role?
It's critical that you enjoy helping and working with people. That may seem obvious, but you have to aim to please and solve problems. To be the best, you need to put yourself in the client's shoes and understand their perspective.
What is your advice for someone looking to get into the industry?
Network as much as possible via LinkedIn, industry events, and with others at firms. Devour industry publications to get ahead of trends, and don’t be shy about introducing yourself to professionals in the industry. A lot of people are willing to help eager candidates.
What qualities do you look for when deciding to bring a new person onto your team?
Is there a track record of developing talent and promoting others? Are they positive in nature and competitive, and can they demonstrate that by providing examples? They must have a passion for our business, drive results, and be an inspiration to others. Most importantly I am looking for employees that lead with integrity.
What skills are essential for building a career in financial services?
Organizational time management, effective communication, relationship management, and adaptability. Those skills are all key.
Tell us a bit about what you do outside of work. Where can we find you on a typical weekend day?
My typical weekends are spent chasing around two of my three sons, splitting time to watch one play college lacrosse at St. John's University in New York, and the other at Washington and Lee in Virginia. In addition, we try to visit Charleston, SC as much as possible to see my oldest son and take in the sites, food, and boating culture.