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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

What's a Broker?

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The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Zero Alpha Group (ZAG), a group of fee-only investment advisors, revealed in a recent survey that individual investors remain uncertain about whether the financial professionals they deal with for investments and financial advice act in the client’s or the firm’s best interests. The survey was conducted April 12-16, with 1,073 individuals who “described themselves as investors,” according to Graham Hueber, senior research associate, Opinion Research Corporation, the firm that conducted the “Investor Knowledge of Stockbrokers and Financial Planners” study for ZAG/CFA.


Although stockbrokers are “legally salespeople,” as the report calls them, the results show that more than half the investors polled–54%–looked to stockbrokers for more than transactional assistance. Furthermore, 29% said that “financial advice is the ‘primary’ service” that stockbrokers offer. Ninety-two percent thought that, for the same type of services, financial planners and stockbrokers should be covered by the “same investor protection rules.”