2006 was the 16th year in which Investment Advisor has asked its readers who are representatives of independent broker/dealers to rate their own B/Ds. Those B/Ds who received the highest average rating from their reps were named Broker/Dealer of the Year in four divisions, based on the number of producing reps reported to IA as of April 2006 and published in the magazine’s annual broker/dealer directory in the June issue. In addition, at least 10% of the reported number of producing reps must vote each year to make the broker/dealer eligible for the award. This year, all balloting was conducted online at www.investmentadvisor.com from June 1, 2006, through July 1; a total of 4,813 valid votes were cast. To make their ballots valid, voters were required to insert their personal CRD number and their broker/dealer’s CRD number. They also were required to provide a numerical rating to their broker/dealer in 14 separate categories–from compliance to trading to management to tech support–and give an overall numerical rating. Based on a total possible score per vote of 100, five points were awarded for each of the 14 distinct categories; the overall rating question was given a greater weighting, accounting for 30% of each vote’s total.

To help ensure the validity of the process, IA staff checked the credentials electronically of more than 1,000 voters on the NASD BrokerCheck database, and followed that up by conducting 100 telephone calls of random voters to verify their identities and affiliations.