Approximately 12 years ago the Securities Industry Association, now SIFMA, conducted a survey that showed more than 60% of investors relied on financial advisors who worked for Wall Street firms because they felt safer. This number is currently less than 20% after two Wall Street induced stock market crashes, trillions of dollars of investment losses, and billions of dollars of fines for cheating investors. You may know they are not safer, but not necessarily why. You may not know how Wall Street greed impacts you and, most importantly, what you can do about it.
Incredible Overhead of Wall Street Firms
The big Wall Street firms have layers and layers of shareholders, directors, executives, investment professionals, managers, and advisors. These are a lot of mouths to feed. And, don’t forget the prestigious office towers with the $10,000 waste baskets and the $200,000 Persian rugs. No wonder Wall Street is so willing to put its interests first. It has to generate a lot of revenue from investor assets just to pay the bills. And, don’t forget shareholders who want rising stock prices and greedy executives who want big bonuses.
Not My Advisor!
Investors have seen years of headlines that document the devious business practices of Wall Street. But, continue to believe they are safe because those practices don’t appear to impact them. They believe their advisors, who may be friends, will not take advantage of them to make more money. However, when you survey investors, like we do, you find they do not know if they are being taken advantage or not. Sure, they may not have purchased shares in a toxic Goldman Sachs mortgage pool, but what about bad products that produce poor performance for excessive risk and expense. Since most advisors are allowed to monitor themselves, trusting investors have no way of knowing if they are getting the results they need to retire when they want to and live with financial security for the rest of their lives.
What is an Independent Financial Advisor
Millions of investors stay at Wall Street firms because they do not know where else to go. I am going to provide an easy solution that is available in every good-sized American city. Move your assets to an independent financial advisory firm that has the following characteristics. The firm:
- Provides independent advice that is not tainted by the interests of shareholders and executives
- Is owned by professionals who reside in your community
- Is a Registered Investment Advisor
- Provides financial advice and services for fees
- Is an acknowledged financial fiduciary
- Has access to sophisticated research
- Uses the services of a name brand custodian
- Has a clean compliance record
Your financial advisor is a principal at the firm or you have access to principals. When was the last time you talked to a Merrill Lynch executive?