Six independent broker-dealers are runners up in the 2019 Investment Advisor Broker-Dealer of the Year awards, having been recognized by their advisors for service excellence. As in past years, this most recent poll was highly competitive. Plus, more than 1,300 advisors participated in the program’s online survey.
The BDs being recognized as runners up for 2019 are Park Avenue Securities, Next Financial, Geneos Wealth Management, Harbour Investments, Peak Brokerage Services and Lion Street Financial. (A list of the six BDs selected as honorable mentions for the year is found further down in the story.)
We asked leaders of these six firms to discuss some of the innovative services, activities or products they’ve rolled out over the past 12 months and explain why these offerings make a difference for their advisor clients. Their insights highlight the many creative ways firms strive to support advisors in a rapidly changing industry.
Location, Location, Location
Harbour Investments decided to make some changes regarding how and where it holds regional meetings, earning it “a lot of positive feedback” from its 217 affiliated independent advisors, according to Aaron M. Hager, vice president of business development.
The Madison, Wisconsin-based company, for instance, chose to hold one educational event at Lambeau Field, the venerable stadium for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.
“Secondly, we changed the format of many of these [programs] to have smaller class sizes with a very directed topic,” Hager said. “This past year, we focused the first round of meetings on how to better leverage our no-platform-fee advisory solutions, and the second round on best practices for streamlining office efficiencies.”
In a similar vein, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based Peak Brokerage Services recently launched its new advisor experience, the Peak Performance Series. According to Glen McRary, executive vice president of growth and business development, the events are led by “advisor-mentors, who share their expertise, materials, presentations and time” with Peak’s 71 advisor clients.
“Several have hosted a client event, inviting advisors to observe a top-producer in real-time,” McRary explained. “Our approach directly addresses frailties with traditional advisor-training models. In particular, many are led by corporate staff who’ve never sat with a client; others are run by wholesalers with product-driven strategies or by someone whose advice is outdated.”
To supplement these events, Peak uses “advisor-coaches” to “connect advisors with specialized top producers,” he says, and the IBD hosts monthly “virtual lunch and learns.”
Turn FAs into CEOs
Lion Street Financial’s dedicated resources “help our firms execute a customized business plan,” says John Burmeister, president and CEO, of the Austin, Texas-based IBD, which has 149 advisor clients.
These resources empower advisory firms to “identify specific growth areas, codify the actions needed to achieve them and become the working document for checkpoints throughout the year,” he explains. “We help our advisors become CEOs of their businesses.”
Some independent broker-dealers have focused on new systems to support their advisor clients. For example, Geneos Wealth Management of Centennial, Colorado, has updated its internal Workflow system to serve its 285 advisors, according to President Ryan W. Diachok.
“All documentation that is submitted through the broker-dealer is routed through Workflow, and our most recent version has increased transparency significantly and now allows advisors and their staff to track all pending business through every step of the process,” Diachok said.
“This transparency has created a more efficient process and better communication between the back office and our advisors,” he added.
Platform, Model Updates
Likewise, Houston-based Next Financial had “an outpouring of activity on our recently enhanced Next Advisor Services,” according to President Barry Knight.