You Could Go Crazy drawing up lists like this. For instance, we could have put Goldman Sachs, the firm, as a “Ten To Watch,” since (if you have been reading the conspiracy theories) Goldman has cruelly and cynically engineered many a financial bubble for its own profit. Now, so it is said, Goldman controls the levers of political power — call it Government Sachs.

Of course, we could have also just focused on Washington, D.C. — on legislators, regulators and their attendant lobbyists — given the ambitious plans the new administration has for remaking the financial services industry. Why not Bernanke, Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chair of the House Financial Services Committee or SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro? Or how about Jamie Dimon, Obama's favorite financial firm CEO? (Dimon visits D.C. regularly these days.) Truth is, we've included many of these names on past lists. But we also wanted to pick individuals who will arugably have the greatest direct impact on the financial advisory business. So our list includes a few regulatory and policy types, of course, as well as the players who are in the financial industry trenches, actually leading financial advisors on a day-to-day basis. It also includes a couple of asset managers, an ambitious RIA CEO and a financial analyst who covers the industry.

The idea of the list is to not so much to lionize any given individual, but to pick the faces who best represent the most important industry trends and individual competitive predicaments that will shape the industry in the year to come.