IA Readers Pick 15th Annual Broker/Dealers of the Year

Five winners are chosen by biggest voter turnout ever

The reps have spoken. More than 6,000 independent broker/dealer representatives who read Investment Advisor magazine, the leading monthly magazine for independent investment advisors and financial planners with a total circulation of 77,000, have expressed that independence by casting their ballots in the magazine's 15th annual Broker/Dealers of the Year poll. Each year since 1991, Investment Advisor, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, has asked its B/D rep readers to rate their B/Ds in an anonymous balloting process via paper ballots and online at www.investmentadvisor.com. Those broker/dealers that are rated highest by their reps in areas such as compliance, training, marketing and technology support, and overall performance are named Broker/Dealers of the Year.

The 15th annual Broker/Dealers of the Year are:

Division I (broker/dealers with fewer than 200 reps): Geneos Wealth Management, a Denver-based B/D, is a repeat winner of this prestigious award. There's more than one reason for Geneos President Russ Diachok and his home office staff to be pleased: its representatives gave the broker/dealer particularly high scores in back office support, management, and communications with the home office.

Division II (200 to 499 reps): Brecek & Young Advisors, Inc., based in Folsom, California, and led by President and CEO Roland Brecek, is now a four-time honoree that returns to the winner's circle after a three-year absence. At a time when competition and regulation dominate the financial services landscape, its reps gave B&Y credit for its compliance and due diligence efforts, and for its product list.

Division III (500 to 999 reps): NEXT Financial Group, Inc., based in Houston and led by President Jeff Auld, has not only won for the fifth consecutive year, but has done so in three different divisions as its rep force has grown. What is NEXT doing right? Its representatives say it's the B/D's timely payment of commissions, its product list, and keeping open the lines of communication between home office and rep.

Division IV (more than 1,000 reps): FSC Securities, based in Atlanta and led by President Joseph "Joby" Gruber, has now won Broker/Dealer of the Year honors in eight years, and in three of the last four. Representatives of FSC, part of the AIG Advisor Group, singled out the broker/dealer for timely commission payments and for its product list, and in a sign that size doesn't preclude good service, communications with the home office,

This year, a fifth Broker/Dealer of the Year honor has been awarded to Commonwealth Financial Network, reflecting some unique circumstances relating to the number of reps that fall under the Commonwealth umbrella and the high ratings those reps gave Commonwealth. The Waltham, Massachusetts-based broker/dealer, which has slightly more than 1,000 reps and is led by CEO Joe Deitch, was given particularly high marks by its reps for its back-office support, for maintaining good communications with the home office, and for its trading.

Profiles of the winning broker/dealers, including interviews with the companies' chief executives and voting representatives, will appear as the cover story in the September 2005 issue of Investment Advisor.

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