In a post Madoff, “Mortgage Crisis”, and “Predatory Lending” America; we can be sure that the public perception of financial professionals has shifted.
On Feb. 25, 2009 the Marist Institute for Public Opinion asked 2,071 respondents the following question:
“Do you think the illegal investment scheme financial advisor Bernard Madoff has been accused of running reflects a widespread practice of unethical conduct in the financial and investment industry, or does it just reflect the unethical conduct of a few individuals in an industry that is mostly honest and ethical?”
reflects widespread practice 46%
reflects just the few 54%
While MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal and other financial-centric outlets speculate about how the financial world may oporate post-recession, an immanent wide-spread mistrust of financial advisors goes unaddressed.
Perhaps, some financial professionals who operate in a cacoon of like-minded number crunchers and jargon jockeys can disregard public opinion without immediate repercussions, but personal financial advisors do not have a series of middlemen to buffer them from the clients they serve.
The general public cares little about fancy acronyms and excuses; when they mistrust, they will tighten the reigns. People may exercise more personal oversight by moving their assets into local banks, deposit boxes, or even their home! At the very least, they will go out of their way to find a financial advisor with whom they are familiar.
Financial advisors clearly have a monumental task in rebuilding public trust. Other service providers will want to establish a referral relationship with a financial advisor they are familiar with. You’ll want to search your business referral network or the small business directory and gather references. Do your homework!
Forget the accolades and titles, honesty and familiarity may be a financial advisor’s most critical asset in the years to come.