In the September issue of Investment Advisor, we present the 24th annual Broker-Dealers of the Year. Reps at broker-dealers listed in our 2014 BD Reference Guide voted for their broker-dealer on 14 key points, as well as an overall score. Winners were chosen in each division based on the number of reps.

We brought the leaders of the winning firms to Chicago to talk about the industry. This year, instead of turning the mic on and letting them go, we presented them with four scenarios and asked how they would respond. Three they had already encountered, and the fourth they shrugged off as a challenge their reps were already meeting.

Also in this issue, Olivia Mellan and Sherry Christie explain an alternative to messy, drawn-out divorces that leave both spouses—not to mention any children in the no-longer-a-family—worse off.

In a special Soapbox feature, Jon Henschen shares his thoughts on the human capital crisis based on trends he and his firm have identified and proposes a possible solution.

Finally, Mike Patton explains to any brokers wondering how much it costs to go independent just what they should expect to pay once they’re running the show.

Advocates: The 2014 Broker-Dealers of the YearAdvocates: The 2014 Broker-Dealers of the Year

Throughout the history of the independent broker-dealer industry, the promise and perils of being an IBD have been consistent. The growing trend toward independent advice, the joys of owning your own business, the flexibility that comes with being an independent contractor and the benefits to the BD, the rep and the client of not having to flog proprietary products are well-known. Tight margins, industry consolidation, increasing costs (in both monetary outlays and human capital) to stay compliant and provide the best competitive technology are well-documented.

Yet the veteran leaders of this year’s Broker-Dealers of the Year remain optimistic about their firms’ futures and are clear-eyed advocates for the independent BD model.

Editor-in-Chief Jamie Green and Executive Managing Editor Danielle Andrus spoke with the winners, chosen by their own reps, of the Broker-Dealers of the Year to learn how they respond to those challenges.

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Collaborative Divorce: A Win-Win DissolutionCollaborative Divorce: A Win-Win Dissolution

In the United States, divorce currently terminates one out of two first marriages, two out of three second marriages and nearly three out of four third marriages. At any given time, there’s a good chance at least one couple among your clients is contemplating or already moving toward divorce. That often leads to a financial disadvantage or even disaster for one or both parties, undoing your good work for the couple.

Fortunately for many unhappy clients, a more harmonious option has become increasingly popular around the country. It’s based on collaborative practice, a process that has been applied to settle grudges between street gangs, wrangling between businesses and even disputes between nations.

Olivia Mellan and Sherry Christie explain how this productive–rather than destructive—process can be used to help divorcing clients.

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Our Human Capital DisasterOur Human Capital Disaster

It may not be news that the advisor community is facing a labor shortage just as demand for professional advice is peaking. What is news is the scale of that shortage, and three overlooked trends are already playing out with the potential to make that shortage a catastrophe.

Jon Henschen shares his opinion on three mega trends his firm has been tracking that are likely to make this difficult situation even more challenging and offers his solution.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go (Independent)?Should I Stay or Should I Go (Independent)?

There are a lot of issues to consider before making the move from a wirehouse or bank to an independent advisor. Although as an independent you get to make your own decisions, this autonomy comes at a price. Specifically, you are required to pay your own expenses. If you are unfamiliar with these expenses, and everything else included in the life of an independent advisor, it’s not unusual to be a little apprehensive.

Mike Patton breaks down the myriad costs advisors face as they move from a broker-dealer or wirehouse to their own firm.

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