Even amid troubled markets and a sorry economy, quality will out. For the 18th straight year, readers of Investment Advisor have confirmed the value of excellence in the business of providing advice by choosing Broker/Dealers of the Year in balloting at www.investmentadvisor.com earlier this summer. Nearly 5,000 representatives of independent broker/dealers cast ballots, judging their own broker/dealers in 14 separate areas–from the quality of home office personnel to the effectiveness of tech support–and those broker/dealers that gained the highest composite scores were awarded the honors in four different divisions based on their number of producing reps. The winning B/Ds–two of which are repeat winners from 2007, while the other two last won in 2006–will be profiled in Investment Advisor’s September 2008 cover story.
The 2008 Broker/Dealers of the Year are:
Division I (for broker/dealers with up to 199 producing reps): Harbour Investments, Inc. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, and led by its founder, CEO, and president, Nick Sondel, this 21-year-old firm has now won Broker/Dealer of the Year for two years in a row. As one Harbour representative wrote on her ballot as to why she gave the B/D such high marks, “Harbour makes it easy for us to do business the right way.”
Division II (covering B/Ds with 200 to 499 reps): The Investment Center, Inc. This Bedminster, New Jersey-based broker/dealer, led by President and CEO Ralph DeVito, returns to the winner’s circle after a one-year absence. “They are there when you need them, going the extra mile,” one Investment Center representative enthused, “and when you don’t need them, they’re not hounding you or getting in your way.”
Division III (for firms with 500 to 999 reps): NEXT Financial Group. Based in Houston and led by the chairman of NEXT Financial Holdings, Gordon D’Angelo, and President Barry Knight, this firm has garnered B/D of the Year honors for seven of the last eight years. “The culture of NEXT and the leadership of its management team,” said one of its representatives when voting, “is one built on integrity.”
Division IV (for B/Ds with more than 1,000 reps): Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. This independent B/D, based in Fairfield, Iowa, and led by CEO and Chairman of the Board Eric Schwartz, is now a three-time Broker/Dealer of the Year winner. A Cambridge representative expressed his satisfaction with the firm by noting that “I am constantly approached by other B/Ds to affiliate with them but have always declined. Cambridge’s people are the reason: they are outstanding!”