What is a broker/dealer?

A broker/dealer is a firm that oversees the activities of investment professionals (us) to ensure that their clients' (you) best interests are being served.  So, if you've ever purchased or sold investments through a registered investment professional, he or she was affiliated with a broker/dealer.

Why Nations Financial Group, Inc.?

By federal regulation, all investment professionals must be affiliated with a broker/dealer.  However, the firm I choose to affiliate with is completely up to me.  Of the many good independent broker/dealers in our industry for us to choose from, we believe that our partnership wih Nations Financial Group, Inc. (Nations) says a lot about our firm and what makes us different from other independent representatives. 

A full selection of investments

Working with an independent broker/dealer means that we can select most any investment we need to help you achieve your financial goals.  At brokerage firms, such as Merrill Lynch, brokers don't have that freedom of choice.  For the most part, they must sell what the firm tells them to sell.


Nations was founded in 1997 as an independent broker/dealer by Scott Bennett.  Scott, then a representative at another broker/dealer, asked himself how a firm can ask its representatives to promote the firm's own brand of investment products to their clients and still ensure that those clients were getting objective advice.  He realized there had to be a better way.  And there was - he created Nations.

Nations is committed to providing its representatives with world-class service.  It's that world-class service that allows us to spend the bulk of our time focused on our clients, not on administrative work.

While the role of the independent broker/dealer goes largely unnoticed by clients, there are subtle and important differences between them that can offer you insight when evaluating a financial professional to help you pursue your financial goals.

Questions to ask any broker:

Whom do you report to?

We believe only financial professionals working with an independent broker/dealer can truly say they report to their clients.  Other professionals report to a sales manager who sets specific targets for sales to existing clients.  How will you ever know if the recommendations provided to you by such an individual are geared to your goals or to other factors?

Do you make more money when you sell a product developed by your firm?

It's not uncommon for a broker to receive additional financial incentives to push their firm's own products.  In fact, certain investment firms will not even carry the competitors' products regardless of how well they perform.  Rather, they offer "suitable substitutes."  We don't have such concerns.

Securities and Advisory Services offered through Nations Financial Group, Inc. (NFGI), member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Aaron Sanstrum is a Registered Representative of NFGI. Sanstrum & Associates, Inc. is a separate entity from NFGI. Click here to view the firm's Form CRS. Availability of investment services subject to applicable licensing requirements.