A report that just gets more special

Apr 27, 2014 @ 12:01 am

Another year, another Top Independent Broker-Dealers report.

Now in its 13th year, this is one of those ambitious special reports that improve with age. The data keep getting richer and more comprehensive, and our online presentation of that data keeps getting more useful, functional and, well, cool.

Go to our B-D Data Center at InvestmentNews.com/bddata and you will see that what we are able to show you here in the print version of InvestmentNews is just the tip of the iceberg. Online, you will find dozens of interactive lists and rankings. Want to find out which firms offer the highest payouts or have the most reps in the field? Go online.

Want to create your own rankings? Go online.

Needless to say, putting together this landmark report is no easy feat. Our data research editor, Denise Southwood, rolls up her sleeves and begins working on it in February. That's when she sends out the initial survey, from which much of this data is derived. In the weeks and months that follow, Denise spends most of her days on the telephone helping IBD folks fill out the survey, and pores over their responses to make sure everything is kosher.

PRIME INTELLIGENCE

Once the data are locked and loaded, Denise puts her number-crunching superpowers to work and out comes some of the best IBD intelligence available.

Speaking of superpowers, IN's senior columnist Bruce Kelly, who has been covering the IBD space for almost as long as we have been putting out this report, transforms that data into a story (or two or three!), which serves as the cornerstone for each year's report.

This year, for example, Bruce homes in on the fact that independent broker-dealers are thriving once again. In fact, the largest 25 independent broker-dealers reported an average 13.2% year-over-year increase in revenue last year, to $18.5 billion versus $16.3 billion in 2012.

What's behind that increase? A close look at the numbers reveals two things: a strong stock market and a flood of commission dollars stemming from sales of nontraded real estate investment trusts and other alternative products.

Read Bruce's story (which begins on Page 14) for more on this trend and on whether the good times are likely to continue through 2014.

fgabriel@investmentnews.com; Twitter: @fredpgabriel

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