Zweig, a well respected financial columnist for the Wall Street Journal, surveys the challenges investors face when seeking financial advice. He concludes that, unfortunately, “finding someone who will act in your best interest is on you” for now.
He does, however, offer the helpful tool of 19 questions for investors to ask their brokers or advisers to help them with this onerous task. Zweig even offers the correct answers to each concrete, specific question. It’s a superb list that also reflects our own twelve Best Practices, which you can see summarized in plain English here on the Campaign website. 7 out of our 12 Practices are reflected in Mr. Zweig’s article, but all of them share the same message: You, the investor, is the boss. You are paying your advisor’s salary. You deserve absolute assurance and peace of mind that they are, indeed, acting as a fiduciary.
Zweig’s questions urge investors to be cautious and aware when vetting their own broker/advisor. He places immense importance on identifying and avoiding conflicts of interest, and being transparent about expenses and fees. The Campaign for Investors exists solely to help investors get the information they deserve. It offers a host of free financial resources to allow you to calculate your investments costs, evaluate your advisor, and hear stories from other investors like you.
The landscape of advice and investment services is changing with significant improvements in technology and changes in investor attitudes. Zweig adds the simple question of ”When?” When can an investor be assured an advisor is a fiduciary? His answer: Not now. So he champions the idea of empowering yourself in the meantime. This is common sense, or at least according to Google, a common search term.