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Former Schwab RIA veteran lands with Black Diamond

Welling looks to bring his big-company experience to fast-growing software firm

Monday, January 25, 2010 – 6:42 AM by Brooke Southall
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David Welling: I was a plant needing to be re-potted.

David Welling joined Black Diamond Performance Reporting earlier this month.

The former Schwab Advisor Services executive is now the chief solutions officer for the outsourced portfolio management system provider in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I hit that point in my career when I was a plant needing to be re-potted,” Welling says.

Welling, whose most recent job with Schwab was heading its practice management business for RIAs, spent three years developing GrowthPoint, its branded offering in that area.

At Black Diamond, his responsibilities will go deeper, according to Reed Colley, founder of Black Diamond.

Execution experience

“We are thrilled to have Dave and his unique blend of strategic thinking and execution experience as a member of our senior management team,” he says in a prepared statement.

Welling started his Schwab career in 1997 as chief of staff for John Philip Coghlan, who headed the RIA business at that time.

Later he worked closely with Coghlan’s successors, Debby McWhinney and Charles Goldman. Welling also worked with Myra Rothfeld. He left Schwab in February 2009.

What Welling likes about his new position is its dynamic, entrepreneurial nature, he says.

Black Diamond’s customers include 175 practices that manage a combined $35 billion on behalf of 110,000 accounts.

It is also growing fast. In October 2008, it had 70 practices as clients. [See: Black Diamond is winning accounts from Advent at an impressive clip

Word of mouth

Most of Black Diamond’s growth is coming because of word-of-mouth, but Welling believes he can help Black Diamond become more deliberate in its growth.

“We’ll be moving from exclusively word of mouth to much more sales and marketing,” he says.

Black Diamond is wise to bring in a manager accustomed to working with RIAs on a wider scale, says Dan Skiles, executive vice president with Shareholders Service Group of San Diego. As head of technology for Schwab’s RIA business until last year, Skiles worked closely with Welling for several years on various projects.

“So many small companies make the mistake of not broadening their management teams early enough in their growth curve,” he says. “They need procedures and policies so they can win their 300th and 500th client while still delighting their 25th client from long ago.”

Keeping clients happy means knowing how to make technology and practice management work together, according to Skiles, who oversaw technology for Schwab’s RIA business.

Lot of overlap

“There’s a lot of overlap,” he says. “Dave and I worked on a lot of key projects together” at Schwab.

In addition, Welling will strive to aid Black Diamond in forging closer relationships with various asset custodians, he adds.

For example, Black Diamond is already working to integrate its offering with Pershing LLC’s NetX360 platform; he hopes to aid his new company to create similar connections with other custodians. [See: Black Diamond nabs Pershing account]

Black Diamond also has an integration deal with HighTower Advisors, a fast-growing consolidator with $16 billion of assets from 10 advisory practices.

Former Schwab colleagues remember Welling as the person who helped lead Schwab’s efforts to create the Advisor Network referral system from its predecessor, AdvisorSource.

Before coming to Schwab, Welling was a consultant at Bain & Company in San Francisco after receiving his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Jacksonville life

Not many career moves in the financial services industry involve a move from San Francisco to Jacksonville. Welling says he wouldn’t have done it without the lure of a great opportunity.

“I think that says it all,” he adds.

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