Bridge over ocean
15 May 2019 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 75, Issue 3

Brokers or Investment Advisers? The US Public Perception

  1. Patrick A. Lach, CFA
  2. Leisa Reinecke Flynn
  3. G. Wayne Kelly

We find that individuals are confused by the titles used by investment professionals and cannot distinguish between investment advisers and brokers. This confusion persists even among those with investment industry experience, a college degree, or a high level of perceived knowledge (one’s self-assessment or feeling of knowing the information). Surveyed individuals better identified the brokerage responsibilities of “an investment sales representative” (an alternate title for broker) than the more ambiguous titles brokers often use, such as “financial advisor.”

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