Q&A: Frank Leto, Bryn Mawr Trust

From Region’s Business 

The Wealth Management group at Bryn Mawr Trust has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. The Wealth Management division has gone on an acquiring spree — Lau Associates in Delaware in 2008, Hershey Trust in 2011 and Davidson Trust in 2012. Frank Leto, Executive Vice President and head of Wealth Management Services talked with us about the bank’s continued success.

What’s the elevator pitch for Bryn Mawr Trust’s Wealth Management division?

We try to keep it pretty simple. I think our name says a lot — it has the word “trust” in it. For 125 years that the bank has been in continuous existence, families, individuals and institutions have placed their trust in us to manage their wealth. Our business is focused on wealth preservation and client solutions. We don’t sell products, we sell you solutions to your issues or wealth management needs. We pride ourselves on a high level of individualized, customized, personal service for each client. We’re not model driven, so we don’t follow the concept of one size fits everybody. That’s really what we do here at our wealth management group.

Across the board there was an increase in revenue at Bryn Mawr Trust, including the Wealth Management division. What would you say is the biggest factor in that growth?

Well, it’s hard to pin it to one single factor. If we only did one thing it’d be a lot easier. A portion of the revenue is what we’d call cyclical or seasonal. We just finished tax season, so a portion of that revenue comes every second quarter every year. So that’s part of it. But the vast majority of it is due to the success of our strategic initiatives and organic growth. Our strategic initiatives are designed to drive organic growth. And that’s what we saw. If you looked at our first quarter numbers, we had a very large jump in our assets, but we didn’t have a jump in revenue. So when I spoke to the stock analysts at the end of the first quarter, I said, “Just wait and see. Revenue trails the assets.” And that’s exactly what happened.

What would you say is the most common issue you help clients with when it comes to wealth management?

Very rarely do we have a common issue in this business. That’s one of the things that sets us apart is that you do get to know the client and you find out there isn’t one thing that everybody is looking for. But I think a lot of clients are concerned about wealth preservation and wealth transfer and that’s what we really focus in on.