As the popularity of the Broker/Dealer of the Year competition has grown, so has scrutiny of the process from reps, home offices, outside observers, and IA readers in general. We thus present full disclosure of the process. Warning: Your eyes may glaze over by the time you reach the third paragraph.
Since 1991, the editors of Investment Advisor have invited their readers who are producing, independent contractor representatives of broker/dealers to rate their own broker/dealers in a number of discrete categories, and provide an overall rating.
This year, as in 2006, all votes were cast online at www.investmentadvisor.com (in earlier years, we accepted only faxed or mailed ballots). There were 5,799 valid votes cast in the 2007 balloting; in 2006, there were 4,813 valid votes. Balloting was held from June 1, 2007, to July 1, 2007. All prospective voters were required to provide full contact information and provide a numerical rating to their broker/dealer in 14 discrete categories (such as marketing support, compliance, payout, and communications with the home office) and on an overall category, in which we asked them to rate their B/D for its “overall performance and service.”
The validity of a vote is determined by members of the IA editorial staff, who validate that the individual rep’s and broker/dealer’s CRD numbers are valid (using NASD’s BrokerCheck), and were correctly entered on the ballot. Multiple votes by the same person are disallowed. In addition, nearly 150 random voters–including some from each broker/dealer whose reps participated–were contacted by IA staff by telephone to confirm their identities and affiliations.
Then a program is run on the votes that produces an average rating for each B/D, using a formula that gives a stronger weighting to the overall rating category. The B/Ds that receive the highest average rating over all from their reps in 14 separate categories are declared Broker/Dealer of the Year in four divisions. Those four divisions are based on the number of producing reps reported by the B/Ds for the June issue of Investment Advisor as of April 1 of the same year.