Do Most Financial Advisors Know What They're Talking About? | Summary and Q&A

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May 11, 2018
by
Ben Felix
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Do Most Financial Advisors Know What They're Talking About?

TL;DR

Many financial advisors give bad financial advice due to their misguided beliefs, influenced by commissions and lack of understanding of investing.

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Key Insights

  • ⚾ The majority of Canadian investment fund assets are in commission-based, actively managed products, indicating reliance on financial advisors selling these products.
  • 🖤 Lack of fiduciary duty and influence of commissions contribute to poor financial advice given by financial advisors.
  • ❓ Financial advisors and their clients exhibit detrimental behaviors such as performance chasing and poor diversification in their portfolios.
  • ❓ Misguided beliefs can have as damaging an effect as malicious advice, highlighting the importance of seeking knowledgeable advisors.
  • ❓ Financial advisors' own portfolios often reflect the same misguided beliefs as their clients, suggesting a genuine belief in actively managed products.
  • 👻 Obtaining a license to sell mutual funds is not difficult, allowing for the possibility of advisors lacking sufficient understanding of investing.
  • 🧑‍🏭 Trustworthiness of financial advisors is a crucial factor for investors, expecting advisors to act in their best interest at all times.

Transcript

Napoleon Bonaparte famously said ‘Never  ascribe malice to that which is adequately   explained by incompetence’. This is a  way of thinking known as Hanlon’s Razor,   and it can help us interact  with the world more favourably. There is an established body of evidence that  high fees and active management are not in the   best interest of investor... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why do financial advisors often give bad financial advice?

Financial advisors often give bad advice due to their misguided beliefs, influenced by commissions and a lack of understanding of investing. They may genuinely think they are helping but lack the necessary knowledge.

Q: What role do commissions play in financial advice?

Commissions can influence financial advisors to sell commission-based products, such as actively managed mutual funds, which may not be in the best interest of investors. Advisors may prioritize their own earnings over clients' needs.

Q: How do financial advisors' own portfolios compare to their clients' portfolios?

Studies show that financial advisors tend to exhibit the same behaviors as their clients, including performance chasing, inadequate diversification, and high fees. However, advisors' portfolios often have worse diversification and higher fees.

Q: What should investors consider when seeking financial advice?

Investors should seek out financial advisors with advanced financial education and an understanding of evidence supporting the use of index funds. Asking advisors about their opinion on index funds can help assess their knowledge and approach.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • 89% of Canadian investment fund assets are in commission-based, actively managed mutual funds, which suggests that many Canadians rely on financial advisors selling commission-based products.

  • A lack of fiduciary duty for most financial advisors and the influence of commissions are often blamed for poor financial advice.

  • A study shows that financial advisors and their clients exhibit performance chasing behavior, have poorly diversified portfolios, and own funds with high fees, indicating their misguided beliefs.

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