Evidence is mounting slowly that a shakeout could be on the way for financial advisors.
Ron Lieber, who covers personal finance for The New York Times, last week wrote about how the middle class and semi-affluent can get “good, ethical, reasonably priced financial advice without having to watch our backs and our wallets.”
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In a blog post Saturday, Lieber asked readers to post comments
about LearnVest if they tried the system.
Investors have since responded by with a strong dose of negative comments about financial advisors. Here’s a sampling:
“After 25 years of trying to find an honest Financial Adviser, I have given up,” says Karlmanz from New York City.
“The most appropriate financial advice for the middle class and semi-affluent is the free or next to free advice available in abundance online and in print,” says Ryan of Cranford.
“All the ‘investment advisors’ I work with, and there are many, want you to put money in the stock market,” comments Susan of Piedmont, California. “You will observe, perhaps, that the Dow at the end of 2011 was exactly where it was at the beginning of the year, and that the stock market itself has been, over the last 10 years or so, a money-loser.”
“There's a wealth of advice and 'portfolio management' tools available on Schwab and other sites for folks to learn (themselves) about how to manage the money they're able to save (a key point),” says Lisa from South Carolina.
“Instead of paying the outrageous fees to these ‘advisors,’ small investors should take the money and invest in a good unbiased investment management course at a reputable educational facility, i.e. universities, colleges,” says DannyK of Hong Kong.
“The middle class has a wealth of financial information available at little or no cost these days,” says Rocky in California.
“The first rule of middle class investing is: don't waste your money on investment 'advice,’ says Hal from New York City.
The negative comments represent posted in response to Lieber’s posting about an online planning app signal growing investor skepticism about hiring a financial advisor.
Indeed, the financial advice business is likely in the early stages of a shakeout in which one-person firms and advisors without professional designations will suffer most.
Competition from online advice apps is growing. Transaction-oriented advisors who don’t offer financial planning advice and those with no professional designation will come under growing business pressure.
Investment advice professionals — CFPs, CFAs, CPAs — will survive, and some will thrive, because wealthy investors will still need sophisticated advice. But RIAs with multiple professionals will take more market share and we will see growing consolidation along with more RIAs managing billions.