I Don’t Trust the “Top” Rankings and Neither Should You

Bob VeresThere is so much nonsense about investments and finances in the consumer media that it’s nice to turn to our trade press for a modicum of sanity. Right?

We all laugh at the clueless pundits who (apparently wearing a wizard’s hat and peering into the murky insides of a crystal ball) try to tell us what the markets are going to do next week, which investments are going to outperform, when the next recession will begin and what the Fed is going to do in its next policy meeting. What next? Necromancy?

But there are days when our trade press is even more misleading than the consumer rags.

Now we are about to endure multiple lists of the “top” broker-dealers and advisory firms. The word “top” should irritate all of us, because it is a direct proxy for “large,” but it implies that there are other criteria--when, in fact, there are none. The "top" broker-dealer will be the largest one, the next on the list will be the second largest and down the line to (in some cases) number 400.

The same is true of the lists of "top" advisory firms.