Just when branch managers thought their jobs couldn’t get any more complicated, Mary Schapiro says her agency is looking at regulating broker pay.

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically pointed to upfront bonuses paid out to attract high-producing advisors. The SEC wants to make sure that the current compensation scheme doesn’t harm investor-clients.

Those upfront bonuses are just one tool in a branch manager’s bag of tricks to get the best and the brightest advisors into a firm. But, it is only one tool. And while advisors will always insist that a prospective employer show them the money, there are other considerations that advisors should always, always, always consider as well.

Just as significant as compensation is how well an advisor works with his or her branch manager. Does the manager’s style mesh nicely with the advisor’s? If not, the tension and the lack of productivity that may result can have devastating effects. In the December issue of On Wall Street, Denise Federer, a psychologist who counsels advisors, has come up with a manager assessment examination that helps advisors figure out what type of manager they are working for and in turn, how to deal with that personality type.  She writes: “ My conversations with financial advisors over the past 25 years reveal that an advisor’s level of happiness and job satisfaction is often directly influenced by their level of compatibility with their branch manager.”

That’s not surprising. After all, a branch manager is an advisor’s boss. And, workplace study after study has shown that an employee’s dissatisfaction with his or her boss leads to both on-the-job performance problems and in some cases, stress-related illnesses in the worst cases. In the “Branch Manager of the Year Awards” (sponsored by MainStay Investments), advisor opinions and comments carry a great deal of weight with the judges.

So, when weighing that job offer consider more than the compensation package, the technology and the products. Look closely at the branch manager with whom you will have day-to-day dealings. Are you getting an “engaged manager” who wants to be mentors to their advisors and make time to help them solve their problems? That type of manager sounds ideal but that may not be the right personality for your own profile. Perhaps, the manager who is “reluctant” but more hands-off because he is busy with his own book of business, is the better choice for the advisor who wants to do her own thing.

There are more types of managers but understand this: Your branch manager is the key to your success. His already difficult job is only going to get harder in the near future so make sure he or she is the right one for you. So, whether you decide to leave your firm or stay, the question of ‘who will be your branch manager’ should always be a top priority.

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