John Clay Jr.

Vice president, advisor and branch manager at Crowell Weedon, a division of D.A. Davidson in Ventura, Calif.

Years in Securities Business: 14

I recently went to a genealogy website and found my grandfather’s grandfather was also a banker, but it was my father that first got me interested.

When I was around 15 and I got my very first job, my dad said to go in and talk to human resources and sign up for a 401(k) plan.

Although I had no idea what a 401(k) was, I went in and asked that question, and they said, “No, you’re not eligible.” After asking numerous times, when I was around 17, they finally set me up.

Also, during my childhood, my mom was a pastry chef, so I became interested in cooking and the restaurant business.

My dream was to open restaurants and have my own chain, but I wanted to have a corporate background first.

I went on interviews, but none were jobs that I wanted. I discovered that I could make enough in finance to sustain myself in the restaurant business in the future if I wanted.


My dad said, “Why don’t you come in and interview with my boss?”

When a branch manager there described the business and what I would be doing, along with the potential for income and how I could help people, it was kind of the turning point.

My father was actually at the UBS branch in 2005, when I was offered my first job as a nonproducing branch manager at the same office.

UBS didn’t want me supervising my father, so I moved down and took over the Orange County, Calif., office.

I later became a producing branch manager after I joined Crowell Weedon.

Since my first branch manager position at UBS, the idea was to get on the telephone and cold call. That was the way you would build your business.

Now, in the training programs for when I have a new advisor, I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone to pick up the telephone and make a cold call.

One thing I do is encourage all of the advisors to be outside of the office, whether that’s in the chamber of commerce, with their churches or with their country clubs – just out there where they’re in front of people.

I’m always telling people to look at your LinkedIn and look at your contacts to reach out to and tell your story. 

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