Friday, July 26, 2019

Investors, Beware of Financial Weaklings

Back in the Mad Men era, ads offering the trust and investment services of banks stressed "financial strength" and "financial responsibility." The banks wanted to remind readers that while their competitors went bust in the 1930s, they didn't. And they wanted to reassure potential clients: "We'll do our best not to goof up, but if we do, or if our trust officer loots your trust and runs off to Tahiti, we have the financial resources to make good."

Financial strength remains a desirable attribute in an investment adviser. Unfortunately, The Wall Street Journal warns, it's one that many of today's small advisory firms lack.
Many individual investors are using advisers instead of brokers these days, drawn by regulatory and structural changes that favor the advisory-business model of charging steady fees instead of trading commissions. The number of people working as investment advisers has grown 33% since 2008, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
 Smaller investment advisers often are thinly capitalized and, in many cases, don’t carry enough insurance to cover a significant legal judgment against them.
Banks and trust companies aren't the sexiest source of investment services, but their capital should enhance their clients' peace of mind. 

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