In the four years that On Wall Street has held the branch manager awards, the economy has gone from high-octane to full-blown recession and now to a tepid recovery.

The challenges of running a branch have become more daunting amidst mergers, branch consolidation and a regulatory overhaul that is still being shaped. Branch managers have to deal with new technology—and sometimes competing—platforms when it comes to company mergers.

Always important, recruitment and retention of star financial advisors has become even more critical to a manager’s success. This year, as stability returns to the markets and the industry, our new crop of Top Ten Branch Managers show they have the right stuff to make it in ever-evolving brokerage world.

In this awards program (sponsored by MainStay Investment/New York Life) being a top branch manager goes beyond showing asset management numbers. For our judges, it’s also about motivating staff and client relationships.

Consider what one of this year’s two-time winners said: “During the credit crisis, a lot of clients forgave the industry because of their strong relationships to the advisor.”

And that same manager recognizes that advisors need to be given the tools to ensure high performing portfolios that show results. And high-net-worth clients demand results.

To that end, the manager said: “Everything is surveyed based on what the advisor is looking for or what I ascertain from the one-on-one meeting with [him or her].”

In the end, the most successful managers are the ones who make it works for their advisors so they can make it work and meet the needs of their investor-clients.