Why Bank Employees With Impressive But Misleading Titles Could Cost You Big Time

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CBC.ca said: "The term financial advisors is bank jargon for salesperson," he said.
 
CBC.ca said: An RBC branch manager in B.C. says tellers are now called "client advisors," and are required to get a licence to sell mutual funds.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bank-s-deceptive-titles-put-inve...
 

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If you go to a random bank and blindly ask someone to give you investment advice on what you should do with thousands (even millions) in retirement funds - then it's just a matter of where and when you lose your money.

A fool and their money are soon parted.

Even if it's not a random bank and even if you don't ask, they might still try to steer you to one of those "advisors." Happened to me at WaMu once when I asked to open a 6-digit CD (from 0% BTs).

This isn't new info

Banks and insurance agencies are the worst places to get financial advice.

Simple remedy: ask if they have any incentives to steer you to any of their firm's products or are acting as your fiduciary to provide impartial advice that is in your best interest, and tell them you will record their statement. End of free financial advising.

Years ago before I knew that branch managers often had the title of "Vice President", I was totally floored when the nice lady who helped open my checking account gave me her business card. I was full of questions: What education and career choices did she make to work her way up to SECOND IN COMMAND of a major global financial institution? What was she doing in a small town branch on a lazy Tuesday afternoon? Is it for the same reason that one member of the President's cabinet is always in a different location in case of a terrorist attack? What was it like hanging out with the movers and shakers of the financial world?

I think she was a little weirded out but polite.

It's not just banks.  Many years ago when I was still renting I had a small tenant's insurance policy to cover my belongings.  That was my total business with this particular insurance company.  Maybe $70/year premium, never any claims.  So one day I call, get the secretary, get put on hold for a couple minutes (no big deal).  Then she says "your financial adviser can speak to you now" in a somewhat haughty voice.

I said "my what? Sorry is this the right number?  I was calling for Bob, the insurance guy".  But no, unbeknownst to me Bob had been promoted sometime in the last 6 months to a "financial adviser" level.   

When Bob came on the line just for fun I asked him a few questions about asset allocation, passive versus active expenses, please list actively-managed funds that consistently beat their indexes, even a little "please explain the efficient frontier", and by the way, what about taxes, etc.  Funny, every answer Bob came back with had the noun "annuity" in it (although the adjectives differed slightly).

Soon after that I gave up on Bob and bought my tenant's insurance online.

Don't go to them for mortgages either. Every time I get a client that uses a local bank branch, they're awful, they're doing a bunch of other things like opening up accounts for other people and you can't get a hold of them. A dedicated guy in the mortgage office is much better, but you'd never really meet them in a branch office. Plus a lot of time they don't know what they're doing, had to explain LTV to a guy once.

And VP is pretty common too, I remember once when I worked at a small office the VP came out to install some software, wasn't even anything special, they could have just mailed it.

I was a "VP" at a bank at one point in my career. We had a saying that you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a VP at the bank. It's not even just VPs. You've got Assistant VPs, Senior VPs, Executive VPs, Senior Executive VPs. Then we also had Directors and all the various derivatives of those as well.

Edit: spelling



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