These are challenging times for most companies in the financial services arena, and yet some companies continue to shine. Each year since 1991, Investment Advisor magazine, the leading monthly magazine serving independent financial planners and advisors, has sought out those market leaders by asking its readers who are representatives of independent broker/dealers to rate their own B/Ds in an anonymous balloting process. Those broker/dealers that get the highest average marks from their reps in areas such as compliance, training, marketing and technology support, and overall performance are named Broker/Dealers of the Year, and the companies' executives and representatives are profiled in Investment Advisor's upcoming September 2003 issue. This year, nearly 4,000 readers cast paper and online ballots, and the results are in. The 13th annual Broker/Dealers of the Year are:
Division I (broker/dealers with fewer than 200 reps): Century Securities Associates Inc., the independent B/D unit of Stifel Financial Corp., the holding company for the regional brokerage firm Stifel Nicolaus. Based in St. Louis and led by President Scott B. McCuaig, Century Securities is a first-time Broker/Dealer of the Year whose reps gave the company particularly high marks for its good communications with the home office, for back-office support, and for the timely payment of commissions.
Division II (200 to 500 reps): NEXT Financial Group, Inc., of Houston, is the only repeat winner in 2003. Led by President Jeff Auld, NEXT's reps gave the broker/dealer especially high marks for its compliance efforts, trading services, and clearing services.
Division III (500 to 1,000 reps): Cambridge Investment Research is another first-time winner. Under the leadership of President and CEO Eric Schwartz, Fairfield, Iowa-based Cambridge won high marks from its reps for maintaining good communications with the home office, for payout, and for its fee-based programs.
Division IV (more than 1,000 reps): InterSecurities Inc., part of the AEGON insurance group, won Broker/Dealer of the Year honors for the first time. Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and led by its president, Thomas Moriarty, InterSecurities' reps gave the B/D high marks for the timely payment of commissions, for its product list, and for its compliance efforts.
Profiles of the winning Broker/Dealers will appear in the September 2003 issue of IA.