And you thought Henry Blodget and his ilk were gods. Well, the mood of investors has turned. They are wondering what the devil was being sold to them and for what purpose. While tainted research makes investment bankers and analysts villains and targets of suits, brokers and advisors of all stripes had better review their own advisory protocols. The concept of financial malpractice is most certainly spreading from the analysts on over to you, the rep, the one who actually executed the trade.
So, ask yourself, just how good is your advice? Or, better, how good is your advisory process? And don't point to some pre-tax return on a stock or two. During the crazy bull market when the Animal Spirits were on a serious tear, sound advice was not always required. In short, how lucky were you? What I mean to suggest: Reps had better learn a lot more about how to serve clients — how to use zero-cost collars, understand the pros and cons of different trusts and the like. They are “Outstanding Brokers.”
In this issue, we feature brokers who do just that. And no, we don't mean only big producing brokers. We went out of our way to highlight those who are skilled practitioners, people who take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously and know how to help their clients define their needs and establish a plan to achieve them.
Please turn to page 30 for an overview of what the experts say makes a broker outstanding. Staff editor Betsy Riley interviewed scores of clients, Street executives, headhunters and rank-and-file brokers and put the question to them. Again, we hope that you'll find the recipients of our Outstanding Broker Awards to be an inspiration.
We also devote two more articles to helping you negotiate the maze of professional educational programs that can make you a better broker. David A. Gaffen, senior editor, describes those designations beginning on page 47. David's piece is meant to help you figure out which program is right for your particular needs and goals. On page 53, contributing writer Anne Field describes where to find the training, the approximate cost and the time necessary to get it.