I grew up in a Baltimore suburb. I was expected to earn my own spending money, so I cut lawns and worked in my grandfather's pharmacy behind the counter and delivered prescriptions. My first taste of the "real world" was working as a busboy at a high-end restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, the summer I graduated from high school. Several other busboys were in their thirties, with families to support. It scared me that I might end up like them. That served as an incentive for me to do well in college. I received a B.S. in accounting from Drexel University in 1982. But after working three stints with accounting firms in Drexel's co-op program, I realized I wasn't passionate about the field. I'd always been fascinated with investing and the capital markets.
After getting an M.B.A in finance from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, I got a job at Legg Mason in Baltimore as an equity analyst following savings and loans, eventually adding banks and diversified financial companies. I also became a certified financial analyst and worked with a few clients on the retail side. Everything I had studied in business school led to the analytical side. I loved the intellectual exercise, but I wanted to get into sales and marketing. In 1992, I went to Jim Brinkley, the company's president at the time, and asked him if he thought that made sense. He supported my idea and I moved to the product side. By the time Smith Barney bought Legg Mason Wood Walker, the broker-dealer arm, in 2005, I was responsible for virtually all of the firm's products. I became head of Smith Barney's traditional investments and commuted to New York from Baltimore until 2007 when Legg Mason recruited me back.
In 2009, Tim Scheve, Janney Montgomery Scott's president and CEO, recruited me for my current position. I'm responsible for most of the wealth management solutions that our advisors offer our clients, including managed accounts, financial planning, mutual funds, insurance, annuities, retirement and our cash management business. Our solutions are constantly evolving. For example, five years ago ETFs were not a big deal, but now we all need to be proficient in them. Our firm (owned by Penn Mutual Insurance Co.) is large enough to offer clients most of the solutions that wirehouses recommend, but small enough so that every employee can make a difference.
The key to success is having a passion for what you do, followed by the ability to focus and to not care whether you get the credit for a job well done. There is nothing I admire more than people who don't pat themselves on the back when they are successful. In turn, I try to make it obvious when I know someone is having a positive impact.
My two daughters are away at college now, so the time my wife and I get to spend with them is especially meaningful. Even though I've moved to Philadelphia [from Baltimore], I'm still a Baltimore Ravens fan. At some point, I would love the Orioles to give me a reason to be a fan again.
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