March 4, 2013

What’s In a Name? Advice From a Brand Name Firm May Not Be Everything It’s Cracked Up to Be

Many investors continue to believe they can feel secure that their finances are managed by a “brand name” firm such as J.P. Morgan.  Underlying this sense of security is a lack of understanding about how the brokerage business is structured.  Financial “advisors” employed by major Wall Street firms (unlike those of Registered Investment Advisor firms) are not required by law to place client interests ahead of their own.  In fact, they are not advisors at all but better described as financial product salesmen.  The standard of care for brokerage firm clients is that investment products sold to them must be “suitable”.  This difference, while purposely played down by Wall Street firms in their advertising and communication to the public, leads to an assortment of dubious activities that enriches advisors at the expense of clients.  A recent New York Times article sheds light on the practices of one of these firms…