Chicago Tribune: Know your options before investing in an adviser

In the Chicago Tribune, Gail Marks Jarvis stresses the need for investors to ensure that their financial planner is held to ethical standards and provides financial planning services pursuant to a fiduciary standard of care.

Excerpt: It’s a typical reaction: You don’t think you have the slightest idea how to invest your money for your future, so you figure you’ll go to an expert and get it right.

The trouble is that the investment business is full of conflicts of interest. And naive individuals, who go blindly for help, often end up getting dinged in the process. The more you need help, the more chance you will get taken.

“Financial advisers are more likely to target less sophisticated and less affluent investors with products that are higher-cost or otherwise substandard,” a broad range of groups ranging from the Consumer Federation of America to the CFP Board and AARP wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission. The groups want regulators at the SEC and the Department of Labor to protect consumers, because most Americans can’t tell the difference between a reliable adviser and one posing as one.

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