GRAND RAPIDS — Believing that bringing aboard good talent can contribute to driving growth, Legacy Trust CEO Tracey Hornbeck opted to expand the firm’s reach when seeking to add a wealth management adviser.
Instead of filling one open position, Hornbeck hired three wealth advisers, growing the Grand Rapids trust bank’s staff even further.
“We got to talking to several different folks and we realized there was just a great amount of talent out there, so we decided to expand that search,” Hornbeck said. “Even if you don’t have an open position, when you find that right talent, you have to think strategically about growing the company. When that talent becomes available, you have to capitalize on those opportunities.”
That opportunity came along recently, leading to the hiring of Marcia Rumsey, Anthony Lewis and Jeremy Barber. Each joined Legacy Trust from Fifth Third Bank.
Rumsey, who has more than 25 years of financial planning and wealth management experience, previously worked as an adviser at Fifth Third Wealth Management Inc. in Holland. Lewis was a private banker in Holland and Barber served as a portfolio manager in Grand Rapids, both at Fifth Third Private Bank.
The latest staff additions came after Legacy Trust — which has grown from 16 employees to 23 people in the last 18 months — last August promoted three senior vice presidents to executive leadership positions and hired three new senior vice presidents with decades of experience.
Legacy Trust in 2017 grew assets under management about 30 percent. Assets under management in 2018 had grown about 5 percent through May compared to the end of last year.
Founded 14 years ago, Legacy Trust has a strategic vision to become “the wealth management, provider and employer of choice” in the market, Hornbeck said. She does not attach specific numbers to the strategic vision, although “clearly, we’ve had some great momentum to the business, and I’d certainly like to see that continue.”
“Given the growth that we’ve had, I certainly have an expectation to see double-digit growth out of this firm in assets under management, top-line revenue and net income,” she said.
Hornbeck joined Legacy Trust as CFO and COO in October 2016 after 20 years with Fifth Third Bank and became CEO nearly a year ago. She attributes the growth in part to a greater degree of employee engagement that carries over to client relations.
“True employee engagement builds loyalty — loyalty to the firm, loyalty to the clients, loyalty to your co-workers,” she said. “I’m a firm believer in how you win is important. If you take care of your employees, they will in turn deliver excellent client satisfaction, which eventually leads to growth. And that’s kind of what we live by.”
Legacy Trust’s expansion comes amid growth for the entire wealth management industry in the U.S. and globally.
A 2018 outlook by EY Wealth Management estimated net investable assets by high net worth individuals in North America would grow from $23.3 trillion in 2016 to $26.6 trillion by 2019, and further expand to $28.8 trillion by 2021.
While the North American market is mature and well established, EY’s outlook noted that “the pursuit of personal success and a healthy risk appetite are embedded in a corporate culture that drives innovation and contributes to private wealth accumulation.”
wealth accumulation.” Globally, EY projects net investable assets to grow to $69.6 trillion by 2021, up from $55.4 trillion in 2016.
As Legacy Trust looks to further grow in the market, its hometown roots in Grand Rapids are a key selling point for attracting new clients, said board Chairman Steve Heacock.
The trust bank’s local ownership remains a competitive advantage, Heacock said. That’s something that directors will have to consider should they ever look to grow the firm geographically outside of the West Michigan market, he said.
“That localness matters, so there’s always that issue they’re working through,” Heacock said. “With investing, there’s a level of security in actually knowing the people who are taking care of the accounts.”