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These 400 Broker-Dealers Made the Financial Times 2019 List of Top Advisors

By Rita Raagas De Ramos April 18, 2019

FA-IQ’s parent company, the Financial Times, has announced its 2019 FT 400 list of top U.S. broker-dealer advisors.

This seventh annual batch of top FT 400 advisors has an average experience of 29 years in the industry and an average of $1.9 billion in client assets.

This year, the top FT 400 advisors come from 22 brokerage firms, with Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch having the most advisors on the list. These top-of-their-game professionals are based in 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam.

A survey of the top FT 400 advisors shows that managing client relationships is becoming more important to the group.

Around 47% of this year’s top FT 400 advisors say meeting client demands is a top challenge, up 41% from last year. In contrast, only around 16% say selecting fund managers is a top challenge, down from 18% last year.

FA-IQ sister publication Ignites Research, which has collaborated with the Financial Times on the annual FT 400 list since its launch in 2013, attributes these trends partly to the SEC’s efforts for brokers to put their clients’ interests first.

“Client services — such as financial planning and managing investors’ emotions — are usually more reliable over the long run than investment returns, and less fraught with potential conflicts of interest,” says Loren Fox, New York-based director of Ignites Research and head of the FT 400 ranking.

Fox believes the trend showed by this year’s FT 400 is a leading indicator of how successful advisors will be shifting their business.

Loren Fox

The SEC’s pending Regulation Best Interest package establishes a best interest standard of conduct for broker-dealers, interprets the fiduciary standard for investment advisors, and creates a new Customer Relationship Summary form aimed at clearly stating to clients if they are dealing with a broker-dealer or an investment advisor.

The proposed best interest rule requires a broker to have a duty to act in the best interest of retail customers when making a recommendation — at the time the recommendation is made — without putting their own financial or other interest ahead of the retail customer.

See the full list of FT Top 400 advisors here.