No shell game

Henrico consulting firm has big growth plans
Despite the challenging economic climate, a Henrico-based financial services consulting firm is moving forward with aggressive expansion plans.

With the addition of two new financial executives and an upgraded office space, Oyster Consulting is focused on assisting its clients with efficiency and business growth. The firm takes financial services firms under its wing to nurture business growth by providing audit, compliance, financial, operational and technology consulting.

Oyster assists broker/dealers, investment advisors, hedge funds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and private equity firms to create “simplicity in a complex environment,” according to managing director and founder Buddy Doyle.

Doyle is confident that Oyster will be able to maintain both its high quality and service as it expands.

“We have built a company specifically designed to achieve these satisfaction levels, because we believe they are the foundation of lasting, meaningful strength,” Doyle said. “We want to be a consistently profitable organization that develops a loyal client and employee base through the integrity of our associates and the quality and value of our advice and tools.”

Doyle, Patrick Dennis and Rob Hall founded the firm in October 2008. The trio previously worked with Wachovia Securities, but after that company purchased AG Edwards and moved its headquarters from Richmond to St. Louis, Doyle, Hall and Dennis gravitated toward a different ambition.

“While we started out as a compliance-consulting firm based on our backgrounds, we had the vision of creating a firm that comprehensively supports wealth management firms,” Doyle said. “Since then, we’ve attracted the highest quality consultants: both former Wachovia Securities colleagues and professionals from other firms.”

Currently, Oyster Consulting employs 35 consultants located in Richmond, Charlotte, the Washington, D.C. area, New York, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

In addition to adding training resources, relationship management and a sales force, Oyster Consulting also relocated recently to Innsbrook. Its 8,000 square feet of space will allow the team to accommodate more employees. In fact, during the next 12 months, Doyle expects the firm to surpass the 100-employee level.

“While some folks think we are experiencing pretty rapid growth, we feel as though we are just adding the resources we need to get going,” he said. “We are looking for exponential growth and our plan looks at the right time to add to marketing, sales, support, training and technology to support that growth.”

The two newest members to join the Oyster team, Paul F. Costello and Ann M. Griffith, were chosen for their experience in the financial industry and their leadership skills. Costello will handle strategic consulting and business development support, while Griffith will oversee regulatory compliance implementation and testing.

Griffith’s experience comes from serving 20 years as a director and in-house counsel at World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Credit Suisse Securities. Costello brings Oyster more than 30 years of leadership experience from his past positions as president and CEO of the First Variable Life Insurance Company; president of Mentor Family of Mutual Funds; president and CEO of First Clearing LLC; president of Business Services Group; COO, Wachovia Securities; and founding principal of Onyx Associates, LLC.

The firm’s consultants believe that its depth and breadth of services add value to its clients, Doyle said.

“You see a very diverse background from within wealth management. All come together as a team with over five centuries of combined experience to help our clients protect their firms, create efficiency and focus on growing their business,” he said. “Oyster is a boutique consulting firm that combines the sophistication, knowledge and experience of a big firm with the flexibility, service and costs of an entrepreneur.”
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