For the 16th straight year, readers of Investment Advisor have chosen their Broker/Dealers of the Year in balloting at www.investmentadvisor.com. Nearly 5,000 representatives of independent broker/dealers judged their own broker/dealers in 15 separate areas-from the quality of home office personnel to technology support-and those broker/dealers that gained the highest composite scores were awarded the honors in four different divisions based on the number of producing reps. The winning B/Ds–three of whom are first-time winners, while the other can boast a multiyear winning streak–will be profiled in Investment Advisor’s September issue, and the presidents of the winning firms have agreed to serve on the newly formed Investment Advisor Broker/Dealer Advisory Board for the next 12 months, helping guide the magazine’s coverage of the thriving independent B/D industry.

The 2006 Broker/Dealers of the Year are:

Division I (for broker/dealers with up to 199 producing reps): Contemporary Financial Solutions. Based in West Palm Beach and led by group president Scott Yamamura, this relatively young firm (founded in 2002) and a subsidiary of Pacific Life Insurance Company gained its first-ever Broker/Dealer of the Year honor through the high marks given by its reps for the quality of the home office’s communications with reps and for its internal trading platform.

Division II (covering B/Ds with from 200 to 499 reps): The Investment Center. Another first time winner, based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and led by founder and president Ralph DeVito, this B/D’s reps lauded the firm for its back-office support and its fee-based programs.

Division III (for firms with from 500 to 999 reps): NEXT Financial Group. Based in Houston and led by chairman Gordon D’Angelo, NEXT won B/D of the Year honors for an unprecedented sixth straight year, garnering particular praise from its reps for the timely payment of commissions and its trading platform.

Division IV (for B/Ds with more than 1,000 reps): Woodbury Financial Services. This independent B/D, a unit of The Hartford based in Woodbury, Minnesota, and led by president Brian Murphy, won Broker/Dealer of the Year for the first time in the biggest division. Its reps gave special praise to Woodbury for its timely commission payments, management, and product list.