The Financial Planning Association and MorningstarAdvisor.com formally announced a partnership at the FPA’s Broker/Dealer conference in Los Angeles on Feb. 4, regarding an online matchmaking service called the Broker/Dealer Center. Available through the Web sites of both the FPA (www.fpanet.org) and Morningstar (www.morningstaradvisor.com), the Center offers broker/dealer reps the chance to compare up to five B/Ds at a time in their prime areas of interest, such as size of firm, payouts, and minimum production per rep per year.

A questionnaire consisting of 28 questions and a survey pursuing 46 data points are completed by each participating B/D. Advisors can then search for the factors most important to them in their quest for a new B/D, and then check whether they themselves meet that B/D”s criteria. Interested B/Ds are thereby presented with qualified leads for new reps, the FPA and Morningstar claim, and advisors can look forward to being contacted by the B/Ds that appeal to them the most.

One of the appeals of the Center, according to both organizations, is the cost. Although it is far from cheap (fees can run upwards of $10,000-12,000 per year for participating B/Ds to be listed), the FPA points out that the cost of print media advertising can outstrip that; the Web site, it notes, can be updated “as often as information is provided” by the B/Ds.

Eleven broker/dealers currently participate in the center, according to the FPA, although not all are live on the site yet.