John Taft, former CEO of RBC Wealth Management, has exited retirement to join Milwaukee-based Baird as vice chairman, charged with building its private-client wealth management business.
“Baird embodies all the things I have cared about throughout my career: a client-focused culture; great people; ethical business practices; and a long history of quality and excellence,” Taft said in a prepared statement. “Baird’s independence, employee ownership, diversified business mix and tremendous momentum uniquely position the firm for strong growth.”
Taft has consulted since leaving RBC Wealth Management after 10 years at age 61 in 2016.
He joins employee-owned Baird after helping Canada-based RBC significantly build its U.S. financial-advisor ranks and business.Taft, who will work from the Twin Cities, also will become a member of Baird’s executive management committee.
“John is very highly regarded for his industry knowledge and leadership, his tremendous record of success and his ability to make the deep personal connections that are so important in this business,” said Baird CEO Steve Booth. “He will be a wonderful addition to Baird’s senior leadership team and we could not be more proud that he has chosen to continue his exemplary career at Baird.”
Taft grew Minneapolis-based RBC Wealth Management to nearly 2,000 financial advisors, making it the seventh-largest full-service brokerage firm in America, with $280 billion-plus in assets. He is is a past chairman of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.
Baird has about $170 billion in client assets.Taft will be in charge of building the private client business of a cross-street rival to RBC in many communities.
Financial advisors networks are built through training of rookie advisors. Also, veteran financial advisors are lured to cross the street for cultures where they believe they will be more successful, and also bonuses, often in the form of interest-free loans that can average twice their annual commissions and fees. They typically are forgiven over time as veteran advisors build business in the new shop.