A branch operations manager is the subordinate of a branch manager who is delegated responsibility for all aspects of the office's technical and physical infrastructure, often including the supervision of all support staff.
Branch operations managers have varied backgrounds. They may have expertise in back-office operations, information technology, or other fields.
A branch operations manager has responsibility for ensuring that financial advisors, sales assistants, and other branch office staff have the tools and infrastructure to perform their jobs and that this infrastructure is kept in working order. This infrastructure includes, but is not limited to:
- Copiers and fax machines
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
- Building maintenance
- Real estate operations
- Mailroom operations
- Cashier operations
Branch operations managers also play an important liaison role with the central IT and operations departments. They assist financial advisors and sales assistants with problems that they cannot resolve on their own. Depending on the structure of the firm, branch operations managers may or may not have either solid-line (primary) or dotted-line (secondary) reporting relationships to the central operations area of the firm.
Branch operations managers are paid a salary and bonuses. Their bonus may be tied partly to overall branch results, or it may not.
Depending on the structure of the firm, the next logical step up for a branch operations manager might be as the supervisor of operations for a larger or more prestigious office, or for a larger aggregation of offices within the firm’s branch office hierarchy, such as an office complex or a sales region. As a result, a willingness to relocate often is required to facilitate career advancement.
Relocation also may be necessary as a result of the closure of underperforming offices and the opening of new offices in geographic regions with sales growth or anticipated sales growth. Lastly, since experienced branch operations personnel are in demand throughout the securities brokerage industry, many opportunities to advance by changing firms also exist.
There also are chances for advancement by exiting branch operations management entirely. For example, one might have built the skill set necessary to win promotion into a spot within the central operations or information technology organizations of the firm.
Alternatively, the firsthand knowledge of workflows and processes that have been gained by an experienced branch operations manager can prove to be invaluable for financial management organizations that are involved in management reporting and transfer pricing.
For example, at Merrill Lynch, when the retail product profitability group made a significant push to upgrade its methodologies in the early 1990s and expand the knowledge base of its staff, its manager actively recruited experienced operations professionals to vastly increase the sophistication with which expenses were analyzed and allocated.