In the 20 months since Bill Dwyer became chairman of the charitable foundation “Invest In Others,” an organization designed to recognize the charitable works of financial advisors, the foundation’s profile has risen and its reach has expanded in the advisory business.
During its early days, Invest In Others (IIO) was viewed primarily as an offshoot of LPL Financial, Dwyer’s former firm. When the giant broker-dealer’s CEO Mark Casady, Dwyer and other firm execs realized the extent of their reps’ philanthropic activities, they realized that creating a series of awards to recognize those accomplishments could help these advisors grow their individual charities.
IIO always sought to recognize all advisors, not just LPL’s. But most of the foundation’s financial and marketing muscle has come from that firm, the nation’s biggest independent brokerage.
Dwyer became chairman of IIO in June 2013, just months after he resigned as head of LPL’s broker-dealer unit. In September 2014, Dwyer became president of RCS Securities, but over the previous 18 months he had devoted a great deal of energy to the charity, and it has paid off.
During that period, he expanded IIO’s board to include AIG Advisor Group CEO Erica McGinnis; Commonwealth Financial Network CEO Wayne Bloom; Carey Financial President Mark Goldberg; Fidelity Investment RIA unit chief Bob Oros; and TD Ameritrade’s managing director of marketing, Kate Healy, among others.
A major goal of the awards, Dwyer says, is to help advisor nominees and winners get recognized in their local press. That, in turn, can greatly help them to raise money.
For many advisors, charitable causes are intensely personal. Dwyer cited the case of Bruce Fyfe, a Tampa Bay, Fla., advisor with ProVise who served for several decades as chair of the area’s Homeless Emergency Project (HEP). In 2009, he lost his son, Brendan, to post-traumatic stress disorder. Brendan Fyfe had served three tours of duty in Iraq.
To honor his son, Fyfe helped HEP raise $3.4 million a year to build a 32-unit complex for homeless Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The complex was named after his son.
John Hyland, an IIO board member, previous award winner and managing director at Private Advisor Group in Morristown, N.J., also has a cause dear to his heart. He was always active in local charities, but after he lost an aunt to leukemia, he became a major player in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
In 2010, Hyland, a marathon runner and participant in Ironman events, became a victim of the same kind of acute myeloid leukemia as his aunt. After several months of a grueling chemotherapy regimen, he was declared cancer-free.