We aren’t the only ones in the industry begging for tighter guidelines including minimum educational standards, a standard recognized professional designation and a minimum apprenticeship program before anyone in the industry is unleashed on the public and certainly before they can refer to themselves as a qualified financial advisor. We have an environment right now that allows an individual to present himself or herself as a financial advisor yet doesn’t have a good working knowledge of taxes or how a basic pension plan works. Isn’t that like someone presenting themselves as a doctor with maybe only a first aide course or two under their belt? Now we realize we aren’t talking life or death but there are thousands of stories of financial devastation as a result of bad advice and/or fraudulent activity. Sadly it always ends with the client saying they seemed like such a nice person or they were so friendly or they always called to say happy birthday.
The other reality is many of these incompetent individuals were associated with big name brand firms that you thought you could trust. News flash, most advisors are on commission and/or service fees therefore their recommendations may not be objective. We aren’t saying that’s bad we are simply saying you need to be fully aware of how the person advising you gets paid and yes you should ask this question during your due diligence. If your heart surgeon was on commission and got paid based on the number of bypasses he could perform in a day you’d probably be a little nervous. No one that’s qualified in our industry will have any issue with you asking these questions as a matter of fact they will encourage it.