Spring training season is upon us, but it's not just baseball players who are back in the game. As you'll see in this issue, bank advisors across the board are doing better and feeling more optimistic. Production is up, hiring is up, recruiting calls are up. This is according to BIC's own Recruitment & Compensation Survey for 2011 ("Back in the Game,") as well as the latest Kehrer-Limra's 2011 Predictions Survey, which is detailed in our lead news story ("A Bright Year for Bank Brokerage").

Of course, much of this is due to a stock market that, while volatile, has been rising long enough for investors to start believing that they should be in it. Nonetheless, regardless of what the market does, how you manage your clients and their expectations, how you cater to their needs and help allay their fears, is the other significant driver of this spring's much brighter business picture.

Some other interesting trends surfaced in both BIC's survey and Kehrer-Limra's. The ongoing trends toward perhaps more client-friendly approaches, such as fee-based business and integrating sales across business lines, or cross-selling, continue to make small, but steady progress. These, too, are heartening signs that brokerage programs are exploring new ways to serve clients and not just relying on the market to drive business.

Meanwhile, I hope you all remember the deadline is upon us for BIC's Top 20 Program Managers, and that you have gathered your nomination submissions for us. We can't wait to celebrate with this year's winners at Bobby Van's Restaurant, in J.P. Morgan's original bank vault. Till then, here's wishing you a happy and profitable spring!