The former Schwab sales star is leaving pre-IPO LPL for the green pastures at the Denver-based fast-riser

October 8, 2010 — 6:42 AM UTC by Brooke Southall


Bob Oros, the executive vice president of custom clearning services for LPL Financial, is leaving the largest independent broker-dealer to become the national sales manager of a Denver, Colo.-based RIA custodian. See: Fidelity hires Bob Oros as its new RIA sales chief.

He’ll start his new job Monday.

Oros says that he is making the move to Trust Company of America, which has custody of about $10 billion of RIA assets, because he missed being part of the RIA business. Earlier, he’d been a superstar salesman at Schwab Institutional, say industry observers.

Oros says he’s also leaving the whale to join the minnow because he believes that Trust Company of America is the best of two worlds. It is long-established with big, profitable RIA customers, but at the same time, it has developed cutting-edge technology and its executives are entrepreneurial in nature.

The technology is especially strong for companies that utilize a strategy of using model portfolios and there are many sizable TAMPs that chose Trust for this reason. See: How a small RIA custodian is making big waves.

Giving away secrets

“As I started to look deeper, I was impressed with their technology. I walked away saying: I don’t understand why they don’t have $100 billion [of assets in custody]. It’s the best-kept secret in the industry. I’m going to be the national sales manager selling the best-kept secret.”

Trust’s assets in custody are about $9.5 billion, up from $7.1 billion at the start of 2009. The company’s total RIA assets in custody at the end of the first quarter of 2005 were just $2.3 billion.

That means that Trust has enjoyed a 35.7% compounded annual growth rate for four years, even accounting for the collapse in late 2008.

The added benefit for Oros is that he’s being hired by a Schwab contemporary, Frank Maiorano, CEO of Trust Company of America. The two men didn’t actually know each other at their shared former employer but it still establishes a basis for trust and shared values.

“The way we think about the world and RIAs aligned well,” Oros says.

Maiorano says in a release that his hire of Oros coupled with his earlier hire of Jennifer Nealson to the position of chief marketing officer furthered his strategy for growth.

“With Bob and Jennifer now on board, our leadership group has an unbeatable combination of management discipline, industry experience and passion for perfection to drive our performance.”

Established reputation

Oros developed a reputation for performing well during his years at Schwab. He joined the company in 1995 when it purchased his employer of the time, The Hampton Company, a Cleveland, Ohio-based provider of third-party administration for 401(k) plans. This was the deal that also brought Walt Bettinger and Jim McCool to Schwab; they now serve as CEO and executive vice president for institutional services respectively.

He joined the sales team at Schwab Institutional in 2002 and was appointed senior divisional manager for the East Coast by 2005 – for good reason.

“Advisors liked him; senior management liked him and his regions performed well,” says Timothy Welsh, president of Nexus Strategy. Welsh knew Oros because he was director of marketing for Schwab institutional at the time. “[Oros] was very well-respected and moved up quickly, which is not easy to do because there are 110 people and only three top spots.”

Oros stayed in that position until he went to a position with LPL in Charlotte, N.C. where he served as executive vice president of custom clearing services, with responsibility for the overall performance of the business unit, including leading the sales management and recruiting functions. LPL primarily sells the clearing services to insurance company broker-dealers.

Oros’ move to LPL from Schwab was based on change-is-good motivations.

“I had been at Schwab a long time,” he says. “You get too comfortable. I needed to get uncomfortable again.”

Four children and a dog

Oros’ move to Trust Company of America involves moving his wife, four children and a dog cross-country to Denver.

Giving up his home and his perch with a bigger company that may confer perks if it completes its contemplated initial public offering was ultimately beside the point for Oros.

“It felt like something I had to do,” he says.

Brooke’s Note: I had to wait until late in the day to interview Oros. Why? He is still at LPL and didn’t want to talk to me on company time, though the company is aware of his departure. But he’s wasting no time jumping back into the RIA world. He’s flying to Denver after work today for the FPA conference and he’ll start his new job Monday from the same city.

Mentioned in this article:

Trust Company of America
Asset Custodian
Top Executive: David Barry

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