Nearly Half Mistakenly Believe that Their Advisor is Already
Obligated to Act in Their Best Interest
SUNNYVALE, CALIF.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Americans tend to have a tough time determining if their investment
advisor is on their side, but they clearly want their advisor in their
corner, according to a new survey from Financial Engines (NASDAQ:FNGN),
America’s largest independent investment advisor.1
Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said they would support legally
requiring all financial advisors to put their clients’ best interests
first when providing retirement investment advice. A similar amount, 73
percent of respondents, said they felt it was very important that all
financial advisors be legally required to meet this standard.
The Financial Engines survey also shows just how confusing the financial
services playing field can be for retirement investors. Almost half (46
percent) of Americans mistakenly believe that all financial advisors are
already required to put their clients’ interests first when providing
retirement investment advice. Among those currently working with
financial advisors, 41 percent said that they were not sure if their
advisor was a fiduciary or not.
Part of this confusion may be fueled by industry jargon. For instance,
only 18 percent of those polled said that they knew what it meant for a
financial advisor to be a “fiduciary.”
The Financial Engines survey of 1,018 adults comes in advance of the
widely anticipated “conflict of interest” rule from the United States
Department of Labor. The rule could require all financial advisors who
provide advice on retirement assets to serve as fiduciaries, legally
required to put their clients’ best interest ahead of their own.
Currently, financial advisors are legally permitted to steer retirement
assets into investment funds that are not necessarily in their clients’
best interest but deliver commissions to the advisor. The new rule is
expected to curb that practice.
“Our research shows that even if people may not fully understand the
intricacies of who is a fiduciary and who is not, they have a clear
preference for advisors who are legally required to put their clients’
best interests first,” said Christopher Jones, chief investment officer
at Financial Engines. “Financial Engines has served customers as a
fiduciary for nearly 20 years. We have been supportive of the U.S.
Department of Labor’s proposed conflict of interest rule because we feel
it’s the right thing for both investors and the industry.”
Copies of the survey, “In Whose Best Interest? What Americans know
and what they want when it comes to retirement investment advice,”
can be found at corp.financialengines.com/docs/Financial-Engines-Best-Interest-Report-0316.pdf.
About Financial Engines
Financial Engines is America’s largest independent investment advisor.
We help people make the most of their money by providing full-service
financial planning, including professional investment management and
advice. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, Financial Engines was co-founded
in 1996 by Nobel Prize-winning economist William F. Sharpe. We serve as
a comprehensive financial advisor for our workplace customers, and offer
help to more than nine million people across over 650 companies
(including 142 of the Fortune 500). Our unique approach, combined with
powerful online services, dedicated advisors and personal attention,
promotes greater financial wellness and helps more Americans to meet
their financial goals.
For more information, please visit www.financialengines.com.
All advisory services provided by our investment advisory subsidiaries,
including Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. and a nationwide system of
registered investment advisors known as The Mutual Fund Store. Financial
Engines does not guarantee future results.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including
statements regarding the use of professional investment and financial
planning help, which involve risks and uncertainties that could cause
actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties are
outlined in our SEC filings. You are cautioned not to unduly rely on
these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of
this press release. Unless required by law, Financial Engines undertakes
no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statement to
reflect circumstances or events after the date of this press release or
to report the occurrence of unanticipated events.
1 For independence methodology and ranking, see
InvestmentNews Center (http://data.investmentnews.com/ria/).