Hunter Luke of Professional Planners Inc. in Boston says that one of the things he likes about Commonwealth Financial Network, winner of the 2002 Broker/Dealer of the Year in Division III, is its overall philosophy. “When I joined Commonwealth in 1988, it was a fairly small group, maybe 90 reps or so, and what impressed me was it was almost a family,” he recalls. A rep would know nearly everyone in the home office, and collaboration among the reps was encouraged–”not a competitive thing”–that allowed reps to share ideas and grow their businesses. In spite of Commonwealth’s dramatic growth in number of reps over the years, says Luke (it now has 750), it’s “maintained that focus with the ability of the reps to be there for each other.”

When Commonwealth was small, he says, it focused its resources “to harness the power of the individual reps and to foster sharing.” The company realized that such a strategy worked well, he says, and has kept it in place as it has grown. Particular services Luke is impressed with include rep support, practice management offerings, and Web assistance.

In the wake of September 11 and the bear market, if anything, he regards Commonwealth more highly. “I think it’s made an effort to provide reps with the tools to handle recent events and the market, and maintain their businesses and handhold with their clients,” he says. There’s a great core group of people, he says, that he’s become close with; he also has mentors within this group who help him stay focused on his business and making it grow. The communication among reps, offering access to “people who love what they’re doing,” has helped Luke, as have the company-sponsored conferences and workshops.

Is there any more that Commonwealth could do, we asked? “I guess they could always pay me more,” he says, laughing at his own joke, though he goes on to say that he considers the payout relatively high within the industry.

He hasn’t used all the products and services Commonwealth has in its quiver, Luke admits, but having them all available has kept him, and his business, on the right track.