A decade ago, the independent broker/dealer firms were filled with part-time advisors, certified public accountants and insurance agents. The channel has moved on, but in many ways, its reputation hasn't. Some still see it as a place for those who just can't hack it on Wall Street. Our Top 100 list of independent broker/dealer advisors tells a different tale. Today, the channel is home to some of the most successful advisors in the industry with hundreds of billions in client assets.

Take Gerard Klingman. He is an independent b/d lifer having spent all 27 years of his FA career in the independent channel. “Never an employee of any firm,” he says with pride. Klingman is number 4 on our list this year with over $900 million in assets. Plus, 95 percent of his revenue comes from fee-based business. Surely any wirehouse would love to employ him.

But Klingman says he'd be more interested in defecting to the fee-only RIA channel. Klingman is already dually-registered and says he is considering eventually dropping his Series 7 license and starting his own RIA. For many successful advisors in the independent channel with hundreds of millions in assets and plenty of fee-based revenue, the RIA route may seem like a natural next step.

Therein lies the next big challenge for the independent b/d channel — keeping those who want to run their own RIAs on board. Some firms, such as Raymond James and LPL, already have platforms that will accomodate such advisors. But most IBD firms do not.

“The largest and often most successful independent reps continue to form their own RIAs and eventually move their business to the custodian platform,” says Philip Palaveev, president of Fusion Advisor Network of Elmsford, NY. He says IBDs need to do a better job at delivering sustainable valuable services and support to the hybrid market, or they could lose clients.

Scott Smith, a senior analyst at Cerulli Associates, agrees. “Independent b/ds have to earn their keep,” he says. “They have to give their top advisors compelling reasons to stay. Otherwise, some of these top advisors will eventually realize they don't really need the b/d anymore.”

AMERICA'S TOP 100 INDEPENDENT B/D ADVISORS

  Name Firm City Assets under management ($ in millions) Yrs in the business Business Description/Specialty
1. Ron Carson Carson Wealth Management Group
(LPL Financial)
Omaha, NE 2,456.50 27 Advancing and protecting capital in sideways to negative markets.
2. Charles C. Zhang Zhang Financial (LPL Financial) Portage, MI 1,100.00 19 Providing each of our clients with sound unbiased advice and solutions.
3. Susan C. Kaplan Kaplan Financial Services
(LPL Financial)
Boston, MA 950.00 25 Family practice. Investments, retirement, estate planning, tax, cash flow, and gifting.
4. Gerard A. Klingman Klingman & Associates
(Raymond James Financial Services)
New York, NY 920.08 27 Comprehensive wealth management for high-net-worth families.
5. Earl Winthrop and Mark Winthrop Winthrop Wealth Mgmt.
(LPL Financial)
Avon CT 801.00 27 Independent comprehensive wealth management services.
6. James E. Bashaw James E. Bashaw & Co
(LPL Financial)
Houston, TX 800.00 26 Holistic private wealth advisory for families, small businesses and non-profit organizations.
7. Todd A. Feltz Feltz WealthPLAN
(LPL Financial)
Omaha, NE 800.00 28 Accumulation and preservation of assets to provide retirement income.
8. Thomas Bartholomew Bartholomew & Company
(Commonwealth)
Worcester, MA 771.44 28 Comprehensive wealth management.
9. Brett N. Karras The Karras Company, Inc.
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Roy, UT 728.06 17 Comprehensive wealth management.
10. Van Pearcy Van Pearcy's Wealth Services Team
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Midland, TX 721.05 23 Wealth management and estate/asset protection.
11. Robert Fragasso Fragasso Financial Advisors (LPL Financial) Pittsburgh, PA 640.00 38 Investment management and financial planning.
12. Kay R. Shirley Financial Development Corporation
(LPL Financial)
Atlanta, GA 605.61 30 Provide financial resources that deliver success with care and measurable results.
13. Randy Carver Carver Financial Services
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Mentor, OH 581.50 24 Provide customized wealth management sevices to individuals, corporations and institutions.
14. Salvador “Sal” Flores, Jr. Flores Capital Management
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Chandler, AZ 575.26 30 Provide superior financial service with commitment to excellence and integrity.
15. David A. Peterson Peak Capital (LPL Financial) Highlands Ranch, CO 550.00 16 Comprehensive financial planning; primary focus on retirement planning.
16. Rob Nelson Ameriprise Financial Minneapolis, MN 550.00 17 Integrated advice and asset management solutions developed to address client needs.
17. Roy Williams Prestige Wealth Management Group
(LPL Financial)
Flemington, NJ 539.00 29 Comprehensive wealth management, providing customized planning solutions to high-net-worth individuals.
18. Malcolm A Mal” Makin Professional Planning Group
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Westerly, RI 537.32 26 Full service, comprehensive wealth management“ for individuals and endowments.
19. Steve Stocker Investment Partners (Commonwealth) New Philadelphia, OH 501.01 20 Wealth management for high-net-worth and mass affluent clients, portfolio management for retirement plans, corporations, family trusts, endowments and foundations.
20. G. Andrew Ahrens Ahrens Investment Partners
(LPL Financial)
Lafayette, LA 500.00 20 Preserve, grow, and protect our clients' assets with great service.
21. Laila Marshall-Pence Pence Wealth Management
(LPL Financial)
Newport Beach, CA 500.00 30 Identify big knowable themes, capture cash flow and manage risk.
22. Don Campagna Personal Portfolio Management, Inc
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Boca Raton, FL 477.65 28 Comprehensive financial planning, asset allocation for high-net-worth individuals and businesses.
23. Joseph Chornyak Chornyak & Associates (Commonwealth) Columbus, OH 473.00 32 Comprehensive financial planning.
24. Mark Smith M J Smith and Associates
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Englewood, CO 472.21 27 Asset management services with a comprehensive financial planning approach including tax planning.
25. Edward “Jeff” Sella SPC Financial, Inc.
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Rockville, MD 455.47 30 Cross-trained & proficient in wealth management and tax integration strategies.
26. Nicholas Giacoumakis New England Investment & Retirement Group (Commonwealth) North Andover, MA 450.00 22 Comprehensive investment and wealth management.
27. Michael Gilbert Gilbert Advanced Asset Management
(LPL Financial)
Johnson City, TN 420.00 30 Retirement income management and wealth preservation.
28. Deborah Danielson Danielson Financial Group
(LPL Financial)
Las Vegas, NV 402.00 29 We provide excellence in comprehensive financial planning and asset management.
29. Debra Brede D. K. Brede Investment
(Commonwealth)
Needham, MA 400.99 27 Comprehensive wealth management. Management Company
30. John Horseman JM Horseman Group
(National Planning Corp.)
St. Louis, MO 400.00 30 Preservation and growth of capital to help provide retirement income.
31. Pat Vitucci Vitucci & Associates
(National Planning Corp.)
Walnut Creek, CA 400.00 17 Respect the client's needs by managing their portfolio with integrity and consistency; don't “invest and forget.”
32. James A Cox, III Harris Financial Group (LPL Financial) Colonial Heights, VA 398.00 14 Retirement income planning.
33. Lee Rosenberg ARS Financial Services
(Cadaret, Grant)
Jericho, NY 395.76 35 Personal financial planning, written financial plans, tax preparation and accounting services, estate planning, retirement planning, investment.
34. J. David Tanner Tanner Capital Management
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Provo, UT 395.00 25 Focusing on high-net-worth entrepreneurs with an emphasis on charitable strategies.
35. Thomas Hamlin Somerset Wealth Strategies
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Portland, OR 383.00 20 Sleep-well-at-night strategies for keeping our retirees retired.
36. Scott B. Tiras Tiras, Pennington and Associates
(Ameriprise Financial)
Houston, TX 377.83 22 Wealth management specializing in retirement and pre-retirement financial planning.
37. Dale Cebert Cebert Wealth Management
(NPC of America)
The Villages, FL 375.00 13 Proactive wealth management for retirement.
38. Kalita Bleck Blessing Quest Capital Management
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Dallas,TX 370.00 17 Financial planning.
39. Kerrick W. Bubb KWB & Associates (LPL Financial) Redlands, CA 360.00 23 Creating unique retirement solutions for retired or near retired individuals.
40. Jeffery D. Chaddock Ameriprise Financial Columbus, OH 354.00 22 Predominate focus on affluent clients in telecom industry and higher education
41. Alexandra Armstrong Armstrong, Fleming & Moore Inc
(Commonwealth)
Washington, DC 350.11 44 Financial planning and portfolio management services.
42. Brett Ellen Securities America
(American FinancialNetwork)
Calabasas, CA 350.00 25 Helping bridge gap between businesses and people that own them.
43. Carlo A. Panaccione Navigation Group
(LPL Financial)
Redwood City, CA 350.00 25 Provide wealth solutions as the direct result of comprehensive planning.
44. Robert Kantor XML Financial group
(LPL Financial)
Rockville, MD 350.00 21 Comprehensive financial planning, asset management and insurance.
45. V.L. Bud Sanftner Aspen Financial Services
(LPL Financial)
West DesMonies, IA 345.00 10 Sales team with a balanced approach; 30% stocks & bonds, 35% managed acct., 35% insurance annuities.
46. Sheryl “Sherri” Stephens Stephens Wealth Management Group
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Flint, MI 341.18 35 Fee-based consulting for high-net-worth clients, professionals and business owners.
47. Michael Babyak Jr. II LPL Financial Mine Hill, NJ 341.00 17 Holistic planning with concierge level service.
48. Sally Law Law & Associates
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Glenn Echo, MD 340.00 37 Providing clients with wealth management and financial planning.
49. Todd Arthur Sanford Sanford Financial Services
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Portage, MI 340.00 29 Multi-specialty firm serving educators, small business owners and employees of major local corporations.
50. Michael “Mike” Hines Consolidated Planning Corporation
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Atlanta, GA 335.33 35 Serving clients ranging from retirees, doctors and attorneys to business owners.
51. Stephen W. Johnson Raymond James Financial Services Draper, UT 334.95 20 Combination of retail and employee retirement income security act plans.
52. John Keeney Keeney Financial Group
(LPL Financial)
Columbia, MD 327.45 12 Financial planning, wealth planning and risk management.
53. Robert J. Floe Floe Financial Partners (LPL Financial) Pasadena, CA 325.00 16 We successfully employ both tactical and strategic asset allocation.
54. Claudia Jacques-Soto & Bichop Nawrot Capital Strategies
(LPL Financial)
Bloomfield, CT 323.43 23 Always put the clients' interests first and provide extraordinary service.
55. David M. Nelson NelsonCorp Wealth Management
(LPL Financial)
Davenport, IA 320.00 30 We're humbled to be recognizing 30 years of rock solid financial advice.
56. Charles “Chuck” Morris Raymond James Financial Services Baton Rouge, LA 314.13 27 Comprehensive financial planning.
57. Kenneth Stern Ken Stern & Associates
(First Allied Securities)
San Diego, CA 309.08 13 Uncompromised family wealth planning/ investment management; integrating investment strategies with creative estate and legacy planning.
58. Bennett Marks Marks Group Wealth Management
(LPL Financial)
Minnetonka, MN 305.00 2 Comprehensive wealth management and planning.
59. George Jackson Triad Advisors
(Jackson Retirement Planning)
Heathrow, FL 300.00 2 Comprehensive wealth managers to high-net-worth individuals.
60. Timothy W. Leveroni Leveroni Financial Management
(LPL Financial)
Braintree, MA 300.00 25 Providing financial planning for three generations with a full service team.
61. George Papadoyannis Papadoyannis And Associates
(Ameriprise Financial)
Redwood Shores, CA 300.00 19 Private wealth advisory firm focusing on holistic planning solutions.
62. Carrie Coghill-Kuntz D. B. Root & Company
(Commonwealth)
Pittsburgh, PA 300.00 13 Family wealth management.
63. Lawrence R. Lindsley Summit Planning Group
(LPL Financial)
Green Bay, WI 295.16 11 Comprehensive wealth management services.
64. Mike Slaggie Slaggie Capital Group
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Winona, MN 288.87 10 Comprehensive wealth management for high-net-worth families and foundations.
65. Ashok Shendure BDS Financial Service Corporation
(Commonwealth)
Solon, OH 288.00 24 Comprehensive financial planning including investments, retirement, education and life planning.
66. Carl Stuart Raymond James Financial Services Austin, TX 279.84 31 Investment management.
67. Charlene Carter Raymond James Financial Services Eugene, OR 275.93 21 Financial planning focus, personalized investment strategy. Long-term relationships
68. George R. Pierce George R. Pierce & Assoc.
(LPL Financial)
Seattle, WA 270.00 27 A team-oriented, personal approach to wealth management for life.
69. Daniel Pinkerton Pinkerton Retirement Specialists
(LPL Financial)
Coeur D'Alene, ID 270.00 23 Comprehensive wealth management for retirees and those seriously planning retirement.
70. Mark R. Brown Brown & Tedstrom (LPL Financial) Denver, CO 267.74 27 Wealth management driven by proprietary financial planning philosophy.
71. Gail D. Reid Reid, Godinez, Avina & Associates
(Ameriprise Financial)
Glendale, CA 260.00 22 Build and preserve wealth through financial planning.
72. Debra Hilton D. Hilton Financial Services
(LPL Financial)
The Woodlands, TX 260.00 27 Unparalleled service and knowledge in the design, implementation, and ongoing management of executive compensation plans for not-for-profit organizations.
73. Arthur P. Colamarino/Adam Yofan Alpern Rosenthal Financial
(LPL Financial)
Pittsburgh, PA 255.00 24 Full service wealth management and estate tax Services minimization planning.
74. Holmes Sherard Pettey Barnes-Pettey Financial Advisors
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Clarksdale, MS 255.00 28 Comprehensive financial planning.
75. Dudley McBee Barnes Barnes-Pettey Financial Advisors
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Clarksdale, MS 251.50 38 Comprehensive financial planning for rural America.
76. David Root Commonwealth Pittsburgh, PA 250.00 27 Family wealth management.
77. Douglas J. Lockwood Harbor Lights Financial Group
(LPL Financial)
Manasquan, NJ 249.00 15 Full service financial planning and wealth management.
78. Carole R. Ford Ford Financial Group
(LPL Financial)
Fresno, CA 245.00 31 Holistic financial planning for families, women and the catastrophically injured.
79. Jeffrey M. Crosby Ameriprise Financial Belleve, WA 243.00 16 Family financial officer to help enhance financial success and gain balance in their life.
80. Robert Bjork Birch Cove Group
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Bloomington, MN 240.21 28 High-touch wealth and financial planning for high-net-worth clients.
81. Michael Bonevento Ameriprise Financial Brielle, NJ 239.08 16 Global financial planning and fee-based wealth management.
82. David Armstrong Monument Wealth Management
(LPL Financial)
Alexandria, VA 235.00 11 Fee-based private wealth planning and asset management.
83. Judith Ann McGee McGee Financial Strategies
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Portland, OR 234.79 35 Financial planning with a focus on the well-educated, professional client.
84. Steven Hoffman Steven Hoffman & Associates
(Cadaret, Grant)
Jericho, NY 233.26 36 Estate and retirement planning.
85. Daniel H. Boyce Center for Financial Planning
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Southfield, MI 232.23 29 Wealth management for high-net-worth individuals.
86. Carol L. Rogers Rogers & Company Wealth
(LPL Financial)
Saint Louis, MO 230.00 34 Certified private wealth manager providing Management comprehensive planning and wealth management solutions to high-net-worth families and individuals.
87. Thomas H. Ruggie Ruggie Wealth Management
(LPL Financial)
Tavares, FL 230.00 19 A financial plan equals financial peace.
88. Melissa Anderson Duffy Duffy Anderson Investment Management
(LPL Financial)
Cumberland Foreside, ME 230.00 15 Wealth management and retirement planning for high-net-worth clients.
89. Brad Griswold The CWM Group (LPL Financial) Bethlehem, PA 230.00 21 Dedicated to assisting our clients in achieving their financial goals by developing and implementing a personalized strategy for each individual client.
90. John W. Moore John Moore & Associates
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Albuquerque, NM 230.00 29 Investment strategy and implementation with an emphasis on generosity.
91. Bryan Sweet Sweet Financial Services
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Fairmont, MN 226.26 30 Your path to a worry-free retirement.
92. Daniel Joseph Gavin RayGavin & Associates
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Midland, MI 221.27 38 Financial planning and investment management for mid/upper level management.
93. Richard H. Wagener Wagener-Lee Wealth Advisors
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Columbia, MD 221.05 36 Comprehensive wealth management services for corporate executives, professionals and retirees.
94. Larry Waller Waller Financial Planning Group
(LPL Financial)
Columbus, OH 220.00 41 Lifestyle and legacy choices by design.
95. Burk Rosenthal Rosenthal Retirement Planning
(National Planning Corp)
Fort Worth, TX 215.00 20 Independent advisory firm providing comprehensive financial planning for pre-retirees, retirees, widows and divorced women.
96. Gary W. Pelletier LPL Financial / Northeast Planning Associates Nashua, NH 214.00 25 Retirement accumulation and distribution strategies for businesses and/or individuals.
97. William Leeb Financial Council, Inc. (Commonwealth) Towson, MD 212.80 30 Comprehensive financial planning.
98. William “Mike” Robertson Robertson & Associates
(First Allied Securities)
Houston, TX 212.72 34 Managed money, estate planning and investment banking for HNW and UHNW.
99. Jon Wax Waller & Wax Advisors
(Raymond James Financial Services)
Tampa, FL 212.39 14 Assist, young, established and mature professionals with reaching goals.
100. Graham C. Parsons, II LPL Financial Erie, PA $211.37 24 Help clients achieve life goals. Matching asset allocation to risk tolerance.