In this issue, we are proud to present the 2018 IA 25. The list, while not perfect, includes an interesting mix of new influencers and more traditional industry VIPs. I don’t want to steal to much of the cover story’s thunder but do want to mention that women financial professionals are included in four out of six categories.

We are very grateful to all the readers who voted online for the winners. We know your time is precious and appreciate the input you shared. Next year, we aim to collect more comments on why you picked the industry VIPs that you did for recognition in Investment Advisor.

Several of the IA 25 winners highlight their best practices and reflect on what they have learned through the school of hard knocks. Others comment on trends they feel are most significant for advisors and their clients, such as the growing influence of technology.

As a recent study we conducted in partnership with Dalbar finds, many financial firms have big steps to take in terms of updating and implementing cybersecurity technology. For instance, nearly three-fourths of firms have the same practices they’ve had for the past five years — with less than one in five planning to adopt new practices.

Tech Coach columnist Dan Skiles reviews what advisors can do to ensure they manage technology in accordance with regulators’ policies and priorities. And in Broker-Dealer Beat, Vinny Ferrari of Edward Jones explains how the firm is passing along lessons learned by “the most successful, social media-enabled financial advisors.”

Our featured Wealth Watch interview with Baird’s Erik Dahlberg, who leads its branch management system, spotlights his career achievements and how his colleagues taught him to be a top-notch advisor and manager. He also describes industry challenges, such as the need to attract a younger and more diverse base of both advisors and clients.

Columnist Mark Tibergien zooms in on the current M&A environment for advisory practices. He reminds current owners that “if they own a solid business with a strong team of people and a loyal client base, they do not have to sell for economic reasons.”

Turning to a related matter, columnist Angie Herbers urges advisors to firm up the strategies they need to hit the $1 billion asset mark. This plan needs to be flexible, she says, so you can become “your own expert by learning from everything you do.”

Speaking of experts to learn from, Jamie Green — the longtime editor of this publication through last year — is now an Investment Advisor columnist. Each month, he will focus on an advisor or group that is “Ahead of the Curve.” This month, it’s Renee Kwok of TFC Financial.

In other news, Art Director Chris Nicholls and his work on the demographic series we presented in several 2017 issues, earned him recognition as a finalist in this year’s Jessie H. Neal Awards. His creative talent, dedication and patience he supplies are greatly appreciated each and every issue, as he brings the key issues affecting our readers to life in both clear and vibrant ways.

It’s my hope that the veteran talent of our team continues to shine month after month. Look for further updates in our June broker-dealer Presidents’ Poll coverage and in our July Asset Managers Awards content.