Professional investment advice is highly regulated, and all publications, seminars, correspondence and recommendations between professional advisors and clients must be kept on record and hold up to scrutiny.
It is easy to mislead or misinform investors who have not had a chance to educate themselves, and their very livelihoods are at stake if their money is mishandled. Investment advice can be found at the local barber shop, bleachers, and beaches, but those who want to make sure their money is handled correctly will seek professional advice.
With the internet today, there are many blogs and sites which will attempt to give recommendations for or against certain investments, but unless the person publishing the site is an accredited adviser, the site may not be regulated at all.
Even advisors may not know everything, and it is important to realize that there is a wide world of investments, and advice for your situation should come from an adviser recommended to you from a trusted friend whose financial situation is similar to your own.
Investment advice may included recommendations of certain stocks of funds to pick, or when to buy and sell securities, or it may entail a holistic long-term plan for you and your family, coordinating with your attorney and CPA.
Some advisors make money on commissions built into the products they sell, some are fee-only planners who charge for their time and perhaps a fee based on the assets under management, and some can charge for both.
FINRA and the SEC, and other agencies where applicable, can regulate the activities of those who make money giving investment advice. All registered investment advisors will be listed on the Investment Advisor Registration Depository (IARD).
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