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Capstrat Survey: Investors Trust Financial Pros More Than Online Options

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Easy access to financial advice through the Internet has not diminished U.S. investors’ reliance on traditional financial professionals for help with money management, according to a national Capstrat-Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday, July 21. The results of the survey come in the wake of a global collapse that tarnished major brand names in the financial world, Capstrat said in a statement.

Some two-thirds of survey respondents rated certified public accountants (CPAs) four or five on a five-point scale of reliability. Just over half put banks and financial advisors next in reliability, the former just nosing out the latter.

Only 4% of respondents considered online forums as their “most influential” source of financial advice. This compared with 23% who looked to financial advisors, 17% to banks and 15% to CPAs.

Millennials (respondents aged 18 to 29) are much more likely to look for financial advice online, with 43% in this segment saying they used online forums and 48% designating Google as their most influential financial advisor. In contrast, 10% of respondents older than 65 said they sought financial advice from online forums and a mere 6% considered Google to be most influential.

Women have a much more favorable attitude toward banks than men do. Fifty-nine percent of women respondents consider banks reliable sources of financial information, compared with 43% of men, and 57% said they had used a bank recently, compared with 37% of men who said they had done so. Twenty-two percent of women said they considered banks “most influential,” versus 12% of men, whereas 28% of men said they were most influenced by financial advisors, compared with 19% of women.

Other survey findings:

o One-third of respondents ranked financial news media (CNN, Money and CNBC) as “not at all” or “somewhat unreliable”

o More than half have recently turned to family and friends for financial advice

o One-third of Millennials reported family and friends to be a reliable source for financial advice.

Capstrat is a communications agency based in Raleigh, N.C. Public Policy Polling, also based in Raleigh, has conducted regional and national surveys since 1991.

Michael S. Fischer ([email protected]) is a New York-based financial writer and editor and a frequent contributor to WealthManagerWeb.com.