But going from five top-notch nominees to one winner was even tougher. Just when we thought we reached a consensus, we waffled, because it was the best pool of finalists we’ve ever seen.

After many bleary-eyed, Starbucks-infused meetings, we arrived at a decision. And we’re all pretty excited about this year’s winner. Drum roll, please.

The 2006 Advisor of the Year is a level-headed super producer with a vision (and Series 7 and 63 licenses). He has a wildly successful practice and is a 30-year industry veteran. But what sets Steve Delott – a $22 million senior advisor – apart from the rest is his philosophical approach and dogged determination to turn industry challenges into pure opportunity. We chose Delott because he conducts his practice with a high standard of ethics and a keen eye on doing right by his clients. He takes an interesting and unique perspective on fixed products and suitability issues. Delott is an all-around success story with more than high production numbers. And, he sees opportunity where others see closed doors.

“The industry is changing. It’s interesting because I talk to a lot of advisors, and [those] focusing on annuities, they either think it’s great or it’s the end of the world. Or, they don’t know what to think,” Delott says. “They are in a state of confusion. I always adopted this philosophy: In Chinese, the translation for crisis means opportunity. That’s the way I see our industry right now. It’s in crisis, but for me it is going to be a great opportunity.” To learn how you can adopt Delott’s highly effective habits, read our interview with him, which begins on page 56.