The law of large numbers doesn't seem to apply to our highly anticipated 27th annual survey of independent broker-dealers. The big keep getting bigger. Annual revenue for the Top 5 grew 11.7%. Of the Top 50, no less than 60% reported double-digit revenue growth. For the first time, the No. 1 firm on the list - it's LPL Financial again this year - reported total revenues topping $3 billion.

"Given the choppiness of the markets, it's interesting and encouraging that revenues would grow that much ... especially given the upheaval that investing generally has produced," Financial Planning contributorCraig Israelsen, who started working on the survey more than a decade ago, tells me.

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