Most Investors Don't Understand Differences Between Fiduciary and Suitability Standards

The study, which is based on responses from more than 4,200 investors who make some or all of their investment decisions with an investment advisor found:
  • 85 percent of full service investors either have not heard of or do not understand the difference between a suitability standard and a fiduciary standard.
  • Among those full service investors who are currently in a fiduciary relationship, 57 percent state that this increases their comfort level with their advisor, while 42 percent state that it decreases their comfort level.
  • 59 percent of full service investors have visited their firm's website in the past 12 months, up from 52 percent in 2009.
  • 51 percent of full service investors have exchanged an email with their advisor in 2011, compared with 19 percent in 2008.
  • Contrary to common belief, older investors who use the Web are visiting their advisors' websites more often than younger investors. Among investors who visit their advisor's website, those older than 64 years average more than 35 visits per year. In comparison, investors younger than 45 years average 12 visits per year and investors between the ages of 45 and 64 average 23 visits per year.
  • Reviewing documents posted by an advisor and reviewing tax information are among the most common tasks performed by investors visiting their advisor's website.
The study, now in its ninth year, also measured overall investor satisfaction with full service investment firms and ranked RBC Wealth Management highest in investor satisfaction, ahead of Schwab, Fidelity, and LPL Financial. 

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