Financial Advisers: Who Can You Trust?

If you haven’t done so already, check out BusinessWeek’s special report on financial advisers. In it, we highlight 50 of the most trusted and experienced financial advisers based on research from the Paladin Registry.

It looks like financial advisers need all the good publicity they can get. According to new data released by Mintel, the financial sector “has the furthest to go in regaining consumer trust.”

Banks, credit card issuers and lenders need to clean up their books and communicate openly to regain the people’s faith.

The most compelling datapoint: Mintel says only 28% of high net worth adults say they’re relying more on financial advisers because of the economy. “The current financial market presents a substantial opportunity to advisers who can gain investor’s trust,” says Joan Holleran, director of research at Mintel.

Some advisers say they have learned a lot from the meltdown. Just this week well-known adviser Harold Evensky told his clients that he shares their pain.

As an entrepreneur, my personal equity investments are primarily my business, my IRA, and our pension. For the last year our firm’s pension plan (heavily equity oriented) is off over 30%, my IRA (100% in the Russell 3000) is off almost 50%. My “safe” municipal portfolio (managed like our clients by Thornburg) has barely managed to break even. There is much pain and concern amongst investors around the country right now, and we understand, because we too are experiencing the pain and concern.

How do I feel? Probably like you and every other investor in America: frustrated, concerned, and even angry. I also know that many of you are more than concerned—you’re frightened. I wish I could say it’s silly to be scared. Unfortunately, with some of the most dramatic market losses in living memory, I can’t. It is scary.

Evensky’s candor is refreshing. Has your adviser done anything lately to gain your trust?

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