The year 2009 marked the 19th time that Investment Advisor asked its readers who are representatives of independent broker/dealers to rank their own B/Ds on 14 discrete categories, along with an overall rating. Those broker/dealers that receive the highest average rating from their own representatives are deemed Broker/Dealers of the Year, based on a score that weights the 14 discrete categories with 5% of the total score, while the overall category is given a 30% weighting.
Further, the broker/dealers in the voting are divided into four different divisions based on the number of producing reps affiliated with those broker/dealers. Division I includes broker/dealers with up to 199 reps; Division II includes those with 200 to 499 reps; Division III encompasses B/Ds with 500 to 999 reps; and Division IV includes broker/dealers with more than 1,000 representatives.
To be eligible to vote, each representative must provide his or her own CRD number and the broker/dealer’s CRD number on the ballot. The Investment Advisor editorial staff checks each number against FINRA’s database to confirm the broker’s identity and affiliation. Moreover, for a broker/dealer to be eligible, they must have participated in Investment Advisor’s annual broker/dealer directory that appears in the June issue of the magazine and remains online at InvestmentAdvisor.com, and which includes data about the B/D through April 1 of that year. That requirement allows the editorial staff to place each B/D in the appropriate division based on the number of producing reps they report; 81 broker/dealers appeared in the June 2009 directory.
Voting took place online only at InvestmentAdvisor.com on the traditional dates in 2009–from June 1 through July 1. A total of 3,853 votes were cast, of which 276 were rejected by the editorial staff due to invalid or missing CRD numbers, due to duplicate votes having been cast by the same person, or because the voter’s broker/dealer did not participate in the 2009 directory.
As in the past three years, the leaders of the four winning Broker/Dealers of the Year participated in a roundtable interview with the IA editor in August, and will constitute a special broker/dealer advisory board for the ensuing year.