Tags: Krantz | stockbrokers | invest | adviser

USA Today's Krantz: Beware Stockbrokers Throwing You a Line of Bull

By    |   Thursday, 16 April 2015 08:00 AM

Many of us manage our own investments these days rather than relying on an old-fashioned stockbroker — and for good reason.

USA Today's Matt Krantz lists several dirty secrets brokers are unlikely to reveal.
  • "My firm isn't much different than the rest. Full-service brokers spend incredible amounts of money marketing themselves at golf tournaments and in the media," he writes. "But the actual service provided by these firms is pretty equivalent in the eyes of consumers, indicating that they're all offering good — but not amazing — service.
  • "My clients aren't young — and young investors don't trust me. The average age of the clients of full-service brokerage firms is 61, according to a study by J.D. Power," Krantz notes. In addition, two-thirds of investors born before 1946 think their advisors make decisions in their best interest, compared with just 40 percent of Gen Y and Gen Z investors.
  • "You can easily find out if I've gotten into trouble before." The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, has a website, BrokerCheck, that allows you to check free of charge the disciplinary actions taken against brokers and their firms and to verify their professional licenses.
To be sure, if you don't have the time and expertise to manage your investments on your own, by all means seek out a financial adviser. Just make sure it's one who will be serving your best interests.

As for evaluating an adviser, it's not just a matter of returns, experts say. "Returns are a piece of the puzzle," Tom Robinson, managing director for the Americas at the CFA Institute, told The New York Times. "But I'd probably look at those last."

Communication typically ranks higher than does returns when rating your adviser. Times writer Paul Sullivan lists several other areas to focus on too.
  • Expertise and Personality. "A tough question to ask your adviser is what he or she really knows. You may be with someone whose advisory practice does not match your needs," he writes.
  • Conversations. Is your adviser available when you need him/her? Is your adviser honest in assessing your financial performance and situation?
  • Responsibility. Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, told The Times you should ask yourself: "What decisions has your adviser helped you make this year? What decisions have we made together? What can he help me with? If it's just going to be decisions about buying and selling, you may want more."

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Many of us manage our own investments these days rather than relying on an old-fashioned stockbroker — and for good reason.
Krantz, stockbrokers, invest, adviser
Thursday, 16 April 2015 08:00 AM
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