America’s Best Financial Security Professionals 2022

Forbes unveils its annual ranking of America’s Top Financial Security Professionals (FSPs), the professionals families rely on for wealth planning and protection, including insurance. Extensive research is conducted by our partner SHOOK Research.

SHOOK Research’s rankings are based on a simple notion: “Would we recommend these professionals to a family member or friend?”

We’ve all seen rankings based on how much money people make: athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, billionaires, business executives, and even rankings of financial professionals.

Numbers don’t tell the story enough.

If you needed a life-saving operation, would you choose a surgeon based solely on how much money they make? Perhaps the most important quantitative element would be the number of surgeries performed by the doctor and the success rate.

But there is much more in our ranking. We seek individuals who are best prepared to engage in more meaningful conversations about life while protecting themselves against the perils posed by disability, death or job loss.

To accomplish this task, we collect quantitative data, but we also interview FSPs to see if they are a role model we would recommend to the world.

Much depends on our recommendations. More than 6 million Forbes readers and 116 million unique monthly visitors to have relied on our research to plan their financial future.

The SHOOK process

Our process begins by scouring the financial services industry – life insurance companies, banks, brokerages, agencies, custodians and others for nominations. SHOOK accepts professionals who meet predetermined minimum thresholds and acceptable compliance records.

FSP refers to professionals duly licensed to sell life insurance and annuities. FSPs may also hold other titles and licenses that would allow them to offer investments and securities products through such licenses.

To date, SHOOK has evaluated more than 15,000 professionals for consideration in its ranking published by Forbes. Industry executives and their peers named double that number at 35,465. Not all of them met our standards for consideration and ranking.

SHOOK Research does not receive any commission for rankings.

Basic requirements

  • 7 years as FSP
  • Minimum 1 year in the current company, except for exceptions (acquisitions, etc.)
  • Recommended and nominated by their company
  • Responded to an online survey
  • Focus on individuals, not institutions
  • Acceptable Compliance Record

Quantitative elements

  • Production/premiums, death benefits and assets under management (assigned weights for each)
  • Trends and customer data, such as persistence rates
  • Portfolio performance is not a factor; verified returns among professionals are rare and different client goals offer variable returns

Qualitative elements

  • Telephone and in-person meetings with professionals (if an in-person meeting cannot be carried out, exceptions are considered in which the interview will take place after the publication of a ranking)
  • Professionals who exhibit “best practices” in their practices and approach to working with clients
  • Compliance Records and U4 Forms: Since there are many gray areas, the SHOOK team is willing to listen to a company that supports the PSP with written management support.
  • PSFs that provide a complete customer experience: service model, planning process, scope of services, including heavy use of a company’s platform and resources
  • Degrees and years of service
  • Using the team and team dynamics
  • Level of community involvement
  • Discussions with management, peers and competitor peers

U4/Compliance issues

  • Infringements denied or closed without action
  • The complaint arose out of a product, service or advice initiated by a former professional or former team member
  • Time since complaint
  • Complaints related to product failure, not investment advice
  • Complaints that have been settled: There must be evidence that they have appeased the client who has remained with the professional for at least one year after the date of settlement
  • Complaints found to be unfounded
  • Actions taken due to administrative error or business failure

Once a FSP’s compliance score falls into a tenable category, the following conditions must be met:

  • FSP rating must be among SHOOK’s highest qualitative metrics, including an in-person interview
  • The PSF must receive a letter of recommendation from the firm

Ranking algorithm

The algorithm we have developed is designed to fairly compare the business practices of a large group of PSF on the basis of quantitative and qualitative elements. The data is weighted to ensure that priorities are given to dynamics such as best practices, business models, recent business activity, among others. Each variable is scaled and represents a certain value for each measured component. The algorithm measures thousands of FSPs against each other.

SHOOK Disclosures

Neither SHOOK nor Forbes receives compensation in exchange for placement in its Top Financial Security Professional (FSP) ranking, which is independently determined (see methodology). FSP refers to professionals duly licensed to sell life insurance and annuities. FSPs may also hold other titles and licenses that would allow them to offer investments and securities products through such licenses. The ranking algorithm is based on qualitative metrics learned through phone, virtual and in-person interviews to measure best practices, customer retention, industry experience, referrals, record review compliance, corporate appointments; and quantitative criteria, such as: assets under management, turnover and income generated for their businesses. Investment performance is not a criterion because clients’ goals and risk tolerances vary, and these professionals rarely have audited performance reports. Individuals should carefully choose the right PSF for their own situation and perform their own due diligence. SHOOK’s research and rankings provide opinions intended to help individuals choose the right FSP and are not indicative of future performance or representative of any particular customer’s experience. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For more information, please visit SHOOK is a registered trademark of SHOOK Research, LLC.

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