August 30, 2010
I am responding to the request for feedback on broker, dealers and investment advisors. Personally, I find the titles confusing because the broker, dealer or investment advisor typically does not tell me what their role is and the scope of their fiduciary duty to me as an investor. Of, if they discuss their role, they leave it at the end or hand you a piece of paper for you to read.
The most important information that someone in this capacity should convey to the investor is their fiduciary duty and how they make money from investing your money. For example, I have an SEP IRA and Roth IRA with Merrill Lynch, but my advisor has never told me how much money she made from the investments she recommended to me; nor do I know her relationship to the particular investment funds and why she made certain recommendations and not others.
I would also like to know up front what kind of discipline and/or fines that Merrill Lynch paid to the SEC for any errors, infractions or negligent actions. Investors should have this information without having to ask for it from their investment advisor, broker or dealer. They know about our money, so why can't they tell us about their money?
I don't want to simplify the information, but make it available and easy to get to or make the investment broker, dealer or advisor responsible for conveying this information without squirming for cover.
It's about time that persons who work in investments be more forthcoming. After all, they are handling the funds that most Americans rely upon for their retirement years.