Investment Advisor has been polling its broker/dealer representative readers for 15 years, asking them to anonymously rate their own B/D in a number of areas. Those B/Ds that receive the highest overall rating from their reps after reaching a minimum 10% of their total are declared Broker/Dealers of the year (see “How You Pick Them” sidebar on page 70). In the first four years of the contest–1991 through 1994–the magazine picked the top five overall vote-getters as B/Ds of the Year. In ensuing years, we placed broker/dealers within four divisions based on their number of reps so that smaller B/Ds would be competing against their peers, larger ones against theirs, and so forth.This year, Investment Advisor decided to again declare a fifth Broker/Dealer of the Year to reflect the sterling ratings its reps gave Commonwealth Financial, and the fact that Commonwealth found itself on the cusp between divisions III and IV when it came to the number of its producing reps. That’s because for a number of years we have used the data gathered for our June directory of independent broker/dealers, as of April 1, to place B/Ds into one of the four categories. Since the number of reps affiliated with B/Ds is a fluid figure, however, which might very well fluctuate between April 1, the B/D balloting that takes place June 1 through July 1, and our announcement of the winners with our September issue, we went back to this year’s numbers after declaring our four standard winners to see if any B/Ds would have been penalized in the voting by a fluctuation of up to 10% in its rep force between April 1 and June 1. That was the case only with Commonwealth this year, whose rep force rose from 982 as of April 1 (placing it in Division III) to 1,017 as of June 1 (which would have placed it in Division IV), thus our award of a fifth Broker/Dealer of the Year. To ensure that all the participating B/Ds are aware of how the contest works, we will disclose more details of the process not simply in this article but when we conduct balloting next year.–James J. Green