When I speak to advisors in the industry, our conversation usually breaks into two broad camps: the hundreds of banks that use an outside broker-dealer, or the handful of banks that do not. Or, the way a layperson would view it: small banks and big banks. And whenever a comparison has come up in the past, the big banks usually get the nod due to better technology, name recognition or higher pay grids.

But as contributing writer Carol J. Clouse discovered, the small banks have a lot of fans. Much of that has to do with the idea of less stress and better work-life balance. And as Clouse told me, there is a lot of angst over the turnover at larger banks, which leads to a tough environment for referrals. Who wants to refer their client to a colleague who was just hired?

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