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A Day in the Life of a Trust Officer

Every Baird Trust client has a team helping make their legacy into a reality, a team that includes their Baird Financial Advisor, their Portfolio Manager, and their Trust Officer. We asked Lucie Brooks, Manager of Trust Administration, to give us some insight into what a day in the life of a Trust Officer is like at Baird Trust.

Starting the Day: Administration and Emergencies

Trust Officers often start the day with a list of small administrative tasks – checking on the prior day’s distributions, monitoring overdrafts, and checking the to-do list. These may seem like minor details, unless you are the person expecting the distribution – in which case they become vitally important.

But at Baird Trust our Officers also understand that our clients can see needs, concerns, and emergencies arise at any time. So the small administrative tasks are often upended by one phone call. That phone call might be something easily resolved, such as an emergency cash need handled with an expedited wire. Sometimes the calls are more complex, such as a tuition payment that needs to be made from an irrevocable trust.

Lately, our calls have been centered around market concerns. Our Trust Officers understand our long-term investment strategies, including the importance of planning for uncertain t imes by building portfolios with high-quality investments that will weather the inevitable ups and downs of the market.

Our officers also play a critical role in monitoring the rate of distribution, cash flow, and tax consequences, all important factors during volatile market times. Depending on the nature of the call, the Officer might reach out to your Financial Advisor and Portfolio Manager afterwards to set up a follow-up conversation.

Midday: Committees and Community

By midday, most of our Officers will have had scheduled meetings, like a client lunch for a quarterly review, or meeting with a client to discuss changes to an estate plan.

Internally, all our officers serve on committees, many on our Administrative Review Committee (ARC). ARC is responsible for exercising fiduciary discretion, which involves overseeing the new account process, determining if a distribution request is permitted under a trust document, and more. ARC meets three times weekly, plus ad hoc meetings when true emergencies arise. This flexible approach, reinforced by our tight-knit team, is one of the ways Baird Trust sets itself apart.

Like Baird as a whole, Baird Trust is committed to our communities and giving back. It is not uncommon for Officers to use their lunch break to attend meetings for service on nonprofit boards, to use our Baird Cares volunteer hours, or to participate in Baird Gives Back activities organized by the firm.

Wrapping Up the Day: Review and Education

By the afternoon, our Officers are returning to the administrative tasks they had to set aside in the morning, or taking on more complex ongoing work, like the termination of an irrevocable trust, onboarding a new relationship, or reviewing quarterly fees. This is also when I might be helping a newer associate tackle an issue for the first time. One thing that sets Baird Trust aside is our “player-coach” model – every leader in administration and portfolio management has their own book of business. This hands-on approach is critical to being able to successfully coach associates in the same role, and to set Baird Trust up for continued growth and future success.

This is often the time of day for returning phone calls and emails from our clients. Because we work with families across generations, we often enjoy updates about graduations, upcoming marriages, or planning the post-retirement vacation of a lifetime. Sometimes these calls can be tough, too. Officers might be the first person to receive a call that a loved one has died, and we value being there for clients during the tough times just as much as the happy ones.

As the day winds down, Officers are making their to-do lists for the next day – even when we know they’ll be changing come morning.