Our top 50 list has evolved over the years to better reflect the reality of advisors’ jobs. As one example, fee business wasn’t a consideration in years past, as odd as that sounds today.

Over the past few years, we began to incorporate fee business and we increased its weight each year in the final scores. This year, for the first time, it counts as much as assets under management, or trailing 12-month production.  Advisors could still make it onto our list without a significant amount of fee business, but just barely. They would need strong scores in the other categories. And even then, they would likely find themselves in the lower rankings.

One interesting theme that surfaced this year was how winners shine regardless of their jobs, and regardless of the occasional curveball life throws them. Case in point: We caught up with our No. 1 advisor from 2004 to talk about her career in the ensuing decade. She left the industry and now works as the controller of a small medical company. She liked working as an advisor, but due to circumstances beyond her control (a layoff and a non-compete clause) she felt she had to make a shift. She obviously landed on her feet and says she loves her current job. Her story bookends with our current No.1 advisor, Russell Cesari from Northwest Federal Credit Union, who made a shift into the advisory industry 17 years ago after working at IBM for three decades and just needed a change.

If you find yourself in need of a change, we have other articles for you as well. Our Careers story tells you the right way to resign. It’s not a topic most people think about when they’re busy conquering the world, but it’s definitely an area where it pays to be prepared. You can save a lot of heartache, and money, if you do it right.

If you’re not ready to resign, another possible change, of course, is a move to sales management. Preparation is the key here too. Managing may not necessarily be a natural progression from your current job. It involves a new skill set, so it’s not necessarily the hot-shot advisor who will make a good manager. The best potential manager on your team may well be that advisor who’s not even close to appearing on BIC’s Top 50.

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