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Editor's Note: Readers Voted on Who Were Tops in 6 Fields

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In our cover story about the 2019 Investment Advisor 25 leaders and influencers, we are pleased to recognize individuals making a difference in financial services. Many of them focus their attention on wealth management, and a good number are technology VIPs.

While the list features some younger professionals — like TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Dani Fava — it also includes the Oracle of Omaha, 88. Famed investor Warren Buffett picked up more votes than anyone else in this year’s IA25 online poll.

The straight-talking billionaire is popular both for his success leading Berkshire Hathaway and for his no-nonsense approach to life. The fact that he resides in the same home he bought in 1958 (for $31,500), eats at McDonald’s and seems uninterested in a lavish lifestyle have earned him the trust of advisors, investors and the general public.

Buffett’s investment and other work have not been marred by scandals, leaving him free to comment on such news. Regarding the recent departure of Tim Sloan from Wells Fargo’s CEO slot, for instance, the chair of Berkshire Hathaway urged the bank — which it owns a good chunk of — to look for a non-Wall Street leader. Speaking of leadership, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has promised advisors that Regulation Best Interest will be carefully reviewed for its economic impact, as described in this month’s “Washington Watch.” Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell also describes the sweeping retirement bills now making their way through Congress in her “Playing Field” column, which includes remarks from IRA guru Ed Slott.

Executive search consultant Mark Elzweig shares several “must know” tips for advisors who plan to sell their practice in this month’s “RIA Lessons & Leaders.” Mark Tibergien, CEO of BNY Mellon’s Pershing Advisor Solutions highlights the value of career ladders in his “Formula for Success” column. And consultant Angie Herbers describes the benefits of giving your business a reality check in “The Fast Track.”

We kick off our coverage of this year’s Asset Manager Awards — in cooperation with Envestnet — in our “Industry Awards” section, which lists the 2019 finalists. The winners will be recognized on May 1 at the Envestnet Advisor Summit when the 2019 Envestnet Essential Advisor Awards will be given and the Invest in Others Grant Program Recipients will be announced.

The VIP speakers at the Envestnet Advisor Summit are former Secretary of State Colin Powell and popular advisor and blogger Michael Kitces, one of the 2019 IA25. To see what Kitces has been up to lately in the fintech world, be sure to read consultant Tim Welsh’s “Industry Insights” piece on the recent ScratchWorks Season 2 event.

Technology keeps changing and impacting the advice business. But advisors know their long-term value lies in behavioral finance, according to Mitch Anderson of E|Financial Alliance. As “Ahead of the Curve” columnist Jamie Green writes: “Understanding clients’ personality types,” says Anderson, “allows us to have empathy for them; a robo can’t do that, can’t process that through an algorithm.”

The majority of industry leaders on this year’s IA25 list are known for their understanding, respect and empathy for advisors, who — in many cases — are their clients. With more and more tech tools at their disposal, advisors likely will seek out industry partners who appreciate how they excel in non-technical ways.

Buffet, for instance, has extolled the value of empathy in describing his view on the Golden Rule — “treat others as you want to be treated.” He is known for subscribing to the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”