The broker-dealer executives recognize the industry facesunique challenges every decade or so. “But no one could haveguessed 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
Investment Advisor: What work did your broker-dealer
do last year that helped during the pandemic?
Amy Webber, Cambridge: About a year to 18 months ago, wemade a decision to build an entire digital transformation planfor the next five years. Within about 24 hours of the start toall of this, we realized that five years was not going to work.
We needed a complete digital transformation, or many of thecomponents of it anyway, in probably 18 months to two years,and we made many of them very quickly.
The good news for us is that we were a little bit ahead ofthe curve. For instance, we had already implemented a digitaltexting solution, … and the number of advisors using it jumpedthrough the roof within about the first week — for all the reasons you can imagine.
We were in the game and actually accelerated the adoption.It’s about getting advisors almost across the board to acceptthat they needed these digital tools, that they needed to adoptthem — which was very impressive — and putting much morestaff [focused on] training them in a virtual world, … as well asconverting a lot of our events and the way that we communicate. This is a relationship business, right?
It was interesting not to have — both for our advisors andourselves — the ability to actually interact with them on a face-to-face basis. Still, we’re going to have our best recruiting yearever, and we’re doing all of that in a virtual world.
This year’s format was trimmed down a bit,but additional observations and viewpointsthat couldn’t fit in this piece will be postedon ThinkAdvisor.com. Also, a group of BDsthat came very close to winning an award arehighlighted 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 reg-
istered 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, ledby 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 byPresident 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 haswon the award three times.