Mark Goldberg drives to make Royal Alliance No. 1 once again.

In hindsight, the appointment of Mark Goldberg as president of Royal Alliance in the spring of 2001 seems like a case of really, really bad timing.

Although no one could predict it at the time, Goldberg was walking in the door of the broker-dealer at about the same time that one of the longest bear markets in history was just starting to take hold on Wall Street. Considering that his mission was to revitalize a firm that several years earlier was the largest independent broker-dealer in the advisor industry, it would seem the deck was stacked against him.

Yet as he looks back, Goldberg is hardly bitter about the circumstances he was confronting. Indeed, exhibiting some of the energetic optimism for which he's known for among the company's employees, Goldberg says he feels the timing was fortuitous.

Adversity "gives you the opportunity to question and reassess-to reposition old assumptions and old strategies," he says. "Change is an enormous leverage or fulcrum from which to leverage improvements."

Not that he's oblivious to market conditions. Goldberg says advisors affiliated with Royal Alliance are in an uphill battle like everyone else when it comes to generating revenues and capturing assets. Early this year, he went to visit one of the firm's top reps, Kevin Myeroff, who is president of Cleveland-based NCA Financial, and sit in on several client meetings. "Sitting there with clients talking about their portfolios after three down years isn't easy, even if their clients outperformed the market," he says. "These people [advisors] having a tougher job than the most of us."

Yet he feels the limp market has also forced advisors, as well as Royal Alliance, to get back to basics. For Royal Alliance, that has meant a concerted effort during the past two years to improve technology, expand training and education offerings and generally upgrade support services for advisors. The effort resulted in at least one payoff: a 400-rep net increase in advisors last year, bringing Royal Alliance's total to 2,800 nationwide.

As for the advisors themselves, Goldberg says they're naturally beset with doubts about themselves, their strategies and the market. But those who are successful will look back upon the last three years as their defining moment as advisors. "There has been a great weeding out process," he says. "The people who are standing today in the industry are the winners. I don't believe they fully realize it yet, but they will."

He also feels that when the dust clears, Royal Alliance's successful advisors will not be the ones who were the best at accumulating clients or assets. "It is that person who is delivering that care and advice, that is listening to the needs and wants of a client, who is helping them make the choices they need to make."

Second Time Around

Goldberg has a good feel for the peaks and valleys Royal Alliance has been through for more than a decade because he was there for a good part of that time.

A native of the New York City area, the 41-year-old Goldberg grew up in the metropolitan suburb of Long Beach, Long Island, the third oldest of six children. With parents who were active in the community and a house full of children, Goldberg says the family dinner table in his house was always a place of lively conversation-maybe one reason why he's made face-to-face visits with Royal Alliance advisors a priority in his two years as president. "There was one requirement in our house, and it was, you had to have an opinion," he says.

First « 1 2 3 4 » Next