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In financial services, perhaps the most powerful trend of modern times has been the growth of objective financial advice. Among evidence supporting that claim is a research study published by LIMRA International earlier this year, based on a survey of 708 affluent households. Entitled Financial Advisors and Institutions Serving the Affluent, the survey asked these households to identify their “Primary Financial Advisors.” Of the 45% of households that identified a professional (instead of family, friends or self), the leading providers were as follows:

  • Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) were named by 43% (of the 45%).
  • Stockbrokers were named by 30%.
  • CPAs were named by 16%.
  • The remaining 11% divided among personal bankers, insurance agents, trust officers and lawyers.

Some perspective is useful. Stockbrokers and CPAs have been around a long time, and both professions have spent vast amounts of money to convince consumers why they should be chosen as advisors. CFPs have only existed for 28 years-and for most of that time they worked in the proverbial “cottage industry.” Yet, almost as many affluent households now call CFPs their primary advisors as mention stockbrokers and CPAs combined.

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