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Luminaries Awards

Meet the Top Broker-Dealers of 2020

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While the 2020 Broker-Dealer of the Year winners didn’t get to share their industry insights over lunch near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport this summer (as they’ve done in past years) due to COVID-19, executives with four firms met virtually to exchange powerful ideas and inspiring examples of how the pandemic has changed the advice business.

This year’s format was trimmed down a bit, but additional observations and viewpoints that couldn’t fit in this piece will be posted on ThinkAdvisor. Also, a group of BDs that came very close to winning an award are highlighted in a separate story.

Some 1,300 independent advisors voted on the winners and runners up. By category, the 2020 winners are:

• Division IV (more than 1,000 registered representatives): Cambridge Investment Research, which is led by CEO Amy Webber and based in Fairfield, Iowa; it has won the award 13 times.

• Division III (500 to 999 reps): American Portfolios Financial Services of Holbrook, New York, led by CEO, President and Chief Information Officer Lon Dolber; it has won the award six times.

• Division II (200 to 499 reps): Geneos Wealth Management of Centennial, Colorado, represented by President Ryan Diachok; it has received the award seven times.

• Division I (Up to 199 reps): Lion Street Financial of Austin, Texas, led by John Burmeister; it has won the award three times.

The broker-dealer executives recognize the industry faces unique challenges every decade or so. “But no one could have guessed it was going to be a pandemic this time,” said Diachok.

For the long term, they see the advice business being “well- positioned going into the next 10, 20 or 30 years,” Diachok added. The pandemic “has just resolidified the demand and need for advice and what our advisors do for clients.”

Firms offering high-quality financial help — and the industry overall — should continue to grow their businesses thanks to access to more technology and other trends, they say. The key to this success lies in staying innovative and embracing change.


For a rundown of what the leaders of the 2020 Broker-Dealers of the Year think about the industry today and other topics, as well as a summary of the Runners Up, please click on these story links: