When we’re lumped in with all
financial professionals, the
value we offer is compromised.
By Joe Russo
After my experience the past year as chairman of the Financial Services Institute, I have a message for our government’s leaders in Washington: While the financial services industry as a
whole has been tarred by Wall Street’s brush,
independent financial advisors are not the
enemy — in fact, we are the invaluable solution.
As American investors have made abundantly
clear in recent years by embracing the independent advisory model, Main Street needs us, and
we serve Main Street’s best interests.
American investors understand the value
of independence. They know the difference
between an advisor focused on their needs and
one focused on the directives of an investment
banking arm who may be pressured to cross-sell
the product of the month.
Industry data bears this out. Wirehouses’ share
of advisory assets declined to 41.1% at the end of
2011 from 47.8% at the end of 2007, according to
Cerulli. Investors are voting with their dollars, and
the independent industry is winning.
Independents understand that a client’s
trust isn’t simply earned once — it has to be
earned every day, by adhering to the highest
ethical standards and placing the client first at
all times. We understand this because our liveli-
hoods depend on it. It’s simple: if we lose our cli-
ents’ trust, we’re out of business. This perspec-
tive is what allows us to develop long-lasting,
often multi-generational, relationships with our clients.