Short business trips are often a grind, especially in the summer when lots of vacationers dominate the skies and airports. My recent trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Chicago included 20 hours on the ground and a total of about 15 hours for travel.
What did I get out of this “experience”? The impressive results are highlighted in this month’s cover story on the 2017 Broker-Dealers of the Year. The four BD executives and my colleague Danielle Andrus endured similar (and, in her case, worse) travel conditions. But, in the end, the time certainly was well spent.
Bringing a small group of industry leaders together produced a very thoughtful and inspiring dialogue. Unfortunately, we can’t share the full day-long discussion here in print, but we are putting much of it online at ThinkAdvisor.com. We focus on the big topics in this issue of the magazine — investment products, regulatory change, technology and shifting industry dynamics. Other important issues, such as recruiting and pricing, are covered online at ThinkAdvisor.com/tag/2017-broker-dealers-of-the-year.
The BD executives gave generously of their time, which we hope readers will appreciate, along with their frankness. They debated the future of commissions, the many ways firms are adapting to changing rules and industry dynamics, and where the advisory business is heading. One thought that stood out in my mind after reviewing all the remarks was this overview by Cambridge CEO Amy Webber: “We’re not just broker-dealers. We consider ourselves a financial solutions firm.”
While it’s difficult to assess what will happen next in the equity markets, in Washington or in other areas that influence advisors’ daily lives, the comments of the four BD leaders reveal both the tremendous challenges and fantastic opportunities that lie ahead. Their comments also point to the diversity of approaches firms are taking and the innovation present in the business.