For the first time in its 16 years, the winners of the Investment Advisor 25 entirely reflect the views of our readers. We elected to move into an online voting format for the 2018 IA 25 to democratize the process and see who our readers define as the most influential and inspirational industry players.

Advisors and other industry participants cast about 12,000 total votes for leaders in the following six categories: RIA/Advisory, Independent Broker-Dealers, Custody & Clearing, Portfolio, Investing & the Markets, Politics/Regulation/Compliance, and Fintech/IA/AI.

Influence, like leadership itself, is tough to define. A good number of readers may not have voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, but they certainly wouldn’t deny his ability to set and disrupt the nation’s agenda while he is in office — both on Twitter and in other ways.

Likewise, some advisors may not be enamored with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Yet as head of one of the most —  if not the most — powerful social networks, he now is in an undeniably influential roles, as demonstrated by his recent appearances before Congress over Facebook’s data scandal and questions about its activities during the 2016 election.

Advisors rely on social networks to support and grow their businesses. Beyond these tools, though, they look to industry leaders for inspiration and innovation for better ways to interact with clients.

Many industry VIPs are consistent sources of best practices, practical advice and insights that can guide advisors toward where the puck is going. Read on for more details on how members of the 2018 IA 25 are shaping — and reshaping — the world in which advisors do business.

Read on for our profiles of the 2018 IA 25 winners in each of the six industry categories: