In my experience the financial advice business is largely populated by those who are financially inept in their own affairs and dangerously undereducated in their supposed field of expertise.
Part of the problem has been low barriers to entry where pretty much anyone with a smile and a suit can call themselves a financial expert. The other problem has been lack of serious professional standards in a an industry that is primarily driven by the sales side: scale, cross-selling, bonuses and commissions.
In reality it is not that hard to require high academic accreditation, transparency and ethical standards from those who give advice. We have done this successfully in other professions where for example, lawyers, dentists and doctors oversee their own self-regulating organizations and standards. Its just that in finance, the sales firms are in charge of their self-regulating organizations and standards, and they do not operate under oaths of “do no harm” and serving the “best interests of the client first”. Hence the disaster we call the financial advice business today. This article highlights some of the problems for consumers. See: Protecting Seniors from financial abuse
“In a new survey, the CFP Board revealed just how pervasive the financial abuse of seniors has come to be. At the same time, the board is seeking new standards to helps seniors – and all consumers – better understand which self-described financial advisors are truly out to serve their best interests.
“There are 142 designations for financial advisors,” says Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, managing director for public policy and communications at the CFP Board. “We determined that most of them actually have nothing at all behind them other than a weekend course with an open book test and then you get three letters behind your name. They are basically worthless.”
To help distinguish the pretenders and sales people from authentic advisors, the board is asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to create a ratings system for financial certifications and designations.”