A February 13, 2015 New York Times article highlighted the difficulties that investors – both ordinary and sophisticated – face in finding an advisor who is obligated to act in their best interests.
According to the Times, “At present, many brokers do not have to adhere to the stringent fiduciary standard requiring them to act in their customers’ best interest. They only need to recommend “suitable” investments based on an investor’s personal situation, taking into account things like age, goals and estimated tolerance for risk. That may sound reasonable, but it leaves enough wiggle room for brokers to recommend a perfectly “suitable” mutual fund — but one that pays them more than other available options at the customers’ expense.”
Investment advisers, on the other hand, are regulated by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and are at all times fiduciaries, obligated to put client interests first.
So, why not just make sure to work with a fiduciary investment adviser, rather than a potentially conflicted broker? Well, amazingly enough there is presently no restriction on who can call themselves a financial advisor.
You can read the entire article here.