Double-dipping, gouging and low returns

Thursday 28 October 2004

If a door-to-door brush salesman told you that one brush in his quiver was better than another, would you be convinced he was acting in your interest? Would that advice be worth anything? He gets paid no matter which brush you buy - just buy a brush, won't you?

By The Landlord

Yet this is precisely the practice that permeates the so-called financial advisory business in New Zealand. At least with a brush salesman, the disguise is wafer thin - only the really gullible believe he has any purpose apart from selling you a brush.

But when somebody charges you as your investment adviser, validated by credentials from a national professional body of advisers, you might be forgiven for thinking that he is what he claims he is.

The standards required of financial advisers are so low that a person can tell you he is there to advise you (and in so doing leave you to infer that, like your accountant or your lawyer, your welfare is his professional concern) when there is nothing further from the truth. His sole purpose is to sell the products of fund managers, from whom he receives at least part of his remuneration.

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