A financial fiduciary are financial planners, investment advisors, and money managers who hold positions of substantial trust when they invest other peoples’ money. Investors are counting on the fiduciary to be competent, ethical professionals who practice full transparency and always tell them the truth.
Fiduciaries hold two special registrations: Registered Investment Advisors (firms), or Investment Advisor Representatives (professionals). These registrations permit them to provide financial advice and ongoing services for fees. The registrations also hold them to the highest ethical standards in the financial service industry. By law, they must put investor interests ahead of their own.
Stockbrokers and sales reps are not fiduciaries. They are salesmen who are limited to selling investment products for commissions. And, they are held to a much lower ethical standard called suitability. This deliberately vague standard does not require them to put investor interests first. But, they are supposed to make “suitable” investment recommendations.
So why is there so much confusion? The primary source is sales reps who tell investors they are financial advisors to reduce sales resistance and make it easier to sell investment products. They know investors do not want salesmen investing their assets. Very few investors know the critical differences that separate reps from real advisors. Consequently, they do not ask the right questions and they do not know good answers from bad ones.
As usual the industry wins and investors pay a stiff price. How do reps get away with it? There are no regulations that prevent this deceptive sales practice. And, sales pitches are verbal so there is no record of what was said to gain control of investor assets. The bottom-line…. investors are on their own.
Or, are they? PaladinRegistry.com is loaded with free tools that investors can use to select real advisors for the right reasons, monitor current advisors, and replace under-performing advisors.