From the May 2012 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

April 24, 2012

The Best IA 25 Ever

Find out who made the IA 25 this year. Find out who made the IA 25 this year.

“Must-reads” are like “must-wins,” an annoying propensity for Sunday sports talk to overhype a contest to the point of guaranteeing disappointment. I’ll hold the hyperbole but highly recommend Umair Haque, author of “Betterness: Economics for Humans” and “The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business” who blogs at Harvard Business Review. He’s part of a new breed of business thinkers (similar to Simon Sinek) who have taken hold since 2008, preaching a message that we can—we must—do better.

“We hunger for inspiration, purpose, exhilaration—but mostly, we settle for lives of annihilating boredom, alternating with sheer panic,” Haque writes. “Perhaps we get our fix of ‘life’ through the finely honed narratives of the hundreds of channels of reality TV and ‘news’ we’re smilingly offered night after pixilated night.”

Ouch.

I was reminded of Haque’s stark (if overwrought) view of wants versus needs, capability versus effort and the “self-imposed perimeter of [people’s] carefully constructed lives,” when reflecting on this year’s IA 25, our 10th annual list of the most influential individuals in the advisor business.

With two rather high-profile exceptions, each individual on this year’s list is pushing the boundary of what can reasonably be expected from the individuals and ideas in their respective fields, and succeeding (whether we like it or not) in moving the rest of us with them.

Whether it’s a unique affiliation model (Wells Fargo’s John Peluso), a completely new—and cheap—advice model (Wharton’s Kent Smetter) or the credibility to attract and manage $1.3 trillion of other people’s money (PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian), they’re impacting the advisor industry in a way that propels it forward.

“Tomorrow’s great institutions will be built—as they always have been—not merely by answering today’s preferences with the lowest common denominator, but by seeking radical, transformative paths,” Haque adds, before concluding, “Want to build one?”

The participants in year’s IA 25 already have, one reason I’m tempted to call it our best list ever. I’d also be remiss by not mentioning our staff’s effort and intensity in its compilation, our own humble contribution to the hunger of which Haque speaks, and one we hope you enjoy. (Go to AdvisorOne.com to see the full versions of each profile.)

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