Welcome to our December issue. This is where we feature our annual Top 50 Bank Advisors, our holiday gift to our readers. We put a lot of work into this issue and we're proud of the results.

But there is one caveat that we want to highlight, one stipulation that I think any of our winners would agree with. This list (in fact, most "best of" lists) does not capture the most important part of being a financial advisor-the strength and quality of your client relationships.

This list is purely quantitative (you can read more about the methodology in the intro) so those people skills that are so important in any business relationship are simply not captured here. We write about client-management issues every month, however, so this is our annual reckoning on the numbers. See the Top 50 article here and the Top 50 slideshow here. We also added a new web-only component this year, the Next 50. This is a slideshow that shows those bank advisors who ranked 51 through 100. You can see that here.

Perhaps our industries (finance and journalism) aren't so different. We often succumb to some basic need to compare and rank, but the real value comes from the human touch-context and creativity.

As we put the finishing touches on this year's Top 50, I remembered my first job out of college. I was in charge of the weekly top 20 lists at a local business journal. It gave me a good grasp on business: every week researching a new industry, gathering stats and presenting it all in a list. This was before the Internet, before slideshows and before the ubiquitous lists showing "Top 10 cities for such-and-such." At the time, my only sources for list-making inspiration were U.S. News & World Report and David Letterman.

But even then, it was the entry-level job. The more senior jobs in the newsroom went to those who used their people skills to get the inside scoop, adding context to the story of the day.

So if you're not on our lists, or other lists, don't despair. You may be focusing on the things that any good advisor focuses on-your clients. But if it's really bothering you, be sure to nominate yourself next holiday season.