As Americans prepare to pick their president for the next four years, a record number of Investment Advisor readers have already chosen the 2004 Broker/Dealers of the Year. Each year since 1991, Investment Advisor, the leading monthly magazine serving independent financial planners and advisors, has asked its independent B/D readers to rate their B/Ds in an anonymous balloting process. Those broker/dealers that are rated highest by their reps in areas such as compliance, training, marketing and technology support, and overall performance are named Broker/Dealers of the Year, and the companies' executives and representatives are profiled in Investment Advisor's September issue. While voter turnout has been falling in the presidential elections, it's soaring in the Broker/Dealer of the year voting: this year, almost 5,000 readers cast paper and online ballots at www.investmentadvisor.com. The 14th annual Broker/Dealers of the Year are:
Division I (broker/dealers with fewer than 200 reps): Geneos Wealth Management, a Denver-based B/D, is a first-time winner of this prestigious award. Led by the father-son team of President Russ Diachok (the son) and Chairman George Diachok, Geneos's reps gave the two year-old firm high marks for communications with the home office, for the timely payment of commissions, and for the quality of its management team.
Division II (200 to 500 reps): NEXT Financial Group, Inc., based in Houston and led by President Jeff Auld, won for the fourth consecutive year. Its representatives lauded NEXT in particular for its payouts, its product list, and its compliance efforts.
Division III (500 to 1,000 reps): Sigma Financial Corp., based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, returns to the winner's circle--Sigma had previously won Broker/Dealer of the Year honors six times in different divisions. Led by President Jerry Rydell, the company's reps cited Sigma's compliance and technology offerings as particularly worthy of praise.
Division IV (more than 1,000 reps): FSC Securities, based in Atlanta and led by President Joby Gruber, is another multiple winner--this is the sixth year that representatives of FSC, part of the AIG Advisor Group, voted the broker/dealer into the top spot in the polls. It received plaudits for its timely commission payments, its product list, and its management.