September brings the 21st annual Broker-Dealers of the Year awards. This year’s winners (or their firms) aren’t new to the process, with three of the four capturing top honors over multiple years. The only newbie to the group confidently predicted we’d soon see him again. Check out the cover story to get the winners’ takes on succession planning, recruiting, regulation, product and strategy, and plenty more or see how they were chosen to represent the 2011 Broker-Dealers of the Year.
On a darker note, next month will also mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Our broker-dealers had something to say on that subject too. Patrick McEvoy of Woodbury Financial called it an “affront on capitalism,” and Brad Shepherd, president of Founders Financial, named it the “single most important geo-political event” in his lifetime.
“Notwithstanding the tragedy that occurred, what you saw was a nation and a city come together,” Tim Murphy, Investment Capital Corp., said.
The day after our roundtable discussion with the 2011 Broker-Dealers of the Year, Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. government debt in a historic move that left an already weakened economy reeling. Not that the heads of these venerable firms were somehow unprepared, but nonetheless it should be noted for posterity’s sake; a “sign of the times.”
It was one more thing to add to the long list of what these broker-dealers (and by extension advisors, the financial services industry and the country as a whole) are dealing with. The struggling (scratch; flailing) economy, Dodd-Frank, fee compression, increased competition, baby boomers at age 65, succession planning issues—and on it goes.
So why were they so relaxed?
The interview was punctuated with laughter, good humor and mild ribbing. Being named one of this year’s winners was no doubt a factor, but the real reason was revealed soon after the start of the discussion. For them, it’s all opportunity. Not that anyone took glee in, or made light of, the nation’s travails, but the excitement over their ability to help—to “do their part”—was palpable.
Recovery continues for financial advisory firms. Driven predominantly by sustained appreciation in security markets, virtually all performance indicators for advisory firms trended upward in 2010.
With the 2011 FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay, Eliza de Pardo and Dan Inveen of FA Insight endeavor to support advisory firms in confronting these challenges. People and Pay is the second study with a special focus on human capital. A primary intention of the 2011 People and Pay study is to assist firms to not only attract and retain the right individuals, but to map a path that progresses people toward ownership and management responsibility.
Read “Endangered Supply.”
Everyone understands, at least in theory, the value of written procedures and processes in an office. Clear procedures streamline workflow and build organizational teamwork. They also promote consistency during employee absences or turnover. Ultimately, they enhance a firm’s bottom line. Today, as more solo practices become multiple-advisor firms, the need for consistent procedures is stronger than ever. Joni Youngwirth describes how the humble checklist can be a powerful tool to identify processes and complete them efficiently and consistently, and ultimately grow your firm.
Read “Unchecked Growth.”