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Financial Times Names Top 400 Broker-Dealer Advisors of 2018

By Rita Raagas De Ramos March 22, 2018

FA-IQ’s parent company, the Financial Times, has published its 2018 FT 400 list of top U.S. broker-dealer advisors.

This year’s batch of top FT 400 advisors has an average experience of 28 years in the industry and an average of $1.4 billion in client assets.

The FT 400 advisors come from 20 brokerage firms, including 19% from Morgan Stanley and 18% from Merrill Lynch, which have the most advisors on the list. They are based in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

The FT 400 advisors are increasingly earning their clients’ loyalty as financial planners and monetary psychologists, according to FA-IQ sister publication Ignites Research, which has collaborated with the Financial Times on the annual FT 400 list since its launch in 2013.

Around 66% of this year’s FT 400 advisors count financial planning as a specialty, up from 63% last year, according to Ignites Research.

Meanwhile, investing clients’ money is less of a priority for the FT 400 advisors. A quarter of them outsource their investing by using model portfolios supplied by their companies, according to Ignites Research.

“The outbreaks of market volatility this year highlight the fact that the best advisors spend their time helping clients stick to long-term plans,” says Loren Fox, New York, N.Y-based director of Ignites Research and head of the FT 400 ranking.

“The outbreaks of market volatility this year highlight the fact that the best advisors spend their time helping clients stick to long-term plans.”
Loren Fox
Ignites Research

Managing their clients’ behavioral response to market volatility is a top priority for Patricia Baum and Raj Sharma, who are among the 19 advisors who have made it to the elite list of FT 400 advisors for six straight years since its launch.

Baum, an Annapolis, Md.-based advisor with RBC Wealth Management, says she called her clients to discuss the February U.S. stock selloff as it was happening and emailed them a strategy response paper that explained why the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 each fell more than 4% on February 5, why volatility will likely remain for months, and why investors should nevertheless maintain their equity positions.

Sharma, a Boston, Mass.-based advisor with Merrill Lynch, proactively reached out to clients by phone, email and text to assure them that there was no need to panic because of the the February U.S. stock selloff. He says his team even encouraged some clients – depending on the composition of their investments – to rebalance their portfolios to take advantage of the selloff.

Loren Fox

To qualify for the FT 400 list, advisors needed a minimum of 10 years of experience and at least $300 million in client assets. Qualified advisors were then scored on six attributes: AUM, AUM growth rate, compliance record, experience, industry certifications and online accessibility.

Click here to see a full list of this year’s batch of FT 400 broker-dealer advisors, including their company affiliations, locations and clients served.