You've seen the headlines: Breakaway brokers are the threat facing the wirehouse/employee channel.

However, we've been tracking the real trend, which is that advisors at the wirehouses and regionals may be changing firms but for the most part, they are staying within their channel.

So, it was fascinating to read why Todd Forman and Evan Steinberg, the top producers in our cover story "The Big Leap" chose to stay in the wirehouse channel. There were several reasons. Chief among them was that the independent firms couldn't provide Forman and Steinberg with the services and products they needed to service their well-heeled clients.

The idea for the story came from Mindy Diamond, who served not only as this team's recruiter and career confidante, but also as the interviewer for the article. I think that relationship comes through in this piece, which is quite frank as this team discusses the obstacles they faced, the promises they had to obtain from their new employer and what they absolutely could not compromise on in order to make such a game-changing move.

So, head to the story and find out what Mindy and Howard Diamond gleaned from Messrs. Forman and Steinberg in this interview about making the leap.

Then, it's on to On Wall Street's annual compensation story . Once again, we asked consultant Andy Tasnady to analyze the pay grids of the various firms so we could create our exclusive comparative charts that no other publication can match.

Also in this issue, we welcome Jerry Webman, the chief economist of OppenheimerFunds, as a new expert columnist. In "The End of the Bond Empire," he tackles the question of whether fixed income investments have a future. Whether you have to roll up your shirtsleeves to find truly well structured mortgage-backed securities, or analyze the highest-rated municipal bonds on a case-by-case basis, there are opportunities out there, he argues.

Our stalwart Corporate Culture columnist, Bill Willis, puts aside his recruiter's hat and offers us insight from his own branch manager days. In "The Power of Positive Leadership" he explains what makes a great manager, especially during these challenging times when there appears to be a shrinking number of positions for those who are responsible for bringing in new talent and making sure an office meets production and compliance goals. Willis points out what issues successful managers should be focused on which, in turn, builds a strong, resilient firm culture that encourages retention of top talent.

Finally, it's that time of year when the competition heats up for the annual On Wall Street Branch Manager Awards sponsored by New York Life and MainStay Investments. From the list of 100 that you see across the fold, our panel of judges will select the Top Ten Branch Managers of the Year, who will be honored in New York in May at a famed New York restaurant. I can't wait.

 

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