What’s happened to trust?

In an up-market almost anyone can make money on their investments, but if the last few weeks of market turmoil have proven anything, it’s that it is impossible to know what will happen next.

While these are certainly difficult times, we feel that independent, unbiased financial advice has never been more needed than it is today.  We even got a call yesterday from a local small business reporter asking about how many more people have been coming to Boulevard R.

A recent FPA/Ameriprise study conducted by Harris Interactive points out the value of financial planning.  What was particularly interesting to us, was that 84% of Americans with $50K and above don’t see the value in financial planning or don’t think that they can afford it.  Of the 9% of Americans who have received a comprehensive financial plan, they were overwhelmingly more confident about their future and their financial security when compared with those who don’t have a plan (though this was before the $700B bailout plan and the collapse of AIG and Wamu).

Anyone can help people invest their savings, but where can consumers go to get actionable financial advice that they can trust?  I think that trust is actually at the heart of the current financial crisis.  No one trusts what financial services companies are telling them.  One day they announce that they’re financially sound and the next day they blow up.

This is a resounding failure of leadership both from inside the financial services industry and the agencies who are tasked with oversight (though my guess is that many of the agencies have seen their regulatory powers stripped over time or have had less than pro-active leadership running them).  The financial services industry was already steadily losing consumer confidence (except for independent financial advisors) and after what’s happened in the last few months, that’s going to turn into a precipitous decline.

I’m certainly not an economics major, but I wonder why the federal government doesn’t take some of that $700 billion and send out an army of auditors to review all the accounting books of financial services companies and then publicize their findings so that we can restore some transparency and trust in the marketplace.

Part of what we’re trying to accomplish with Boulevard R is to restore some of the trust that’s been eroded by a lack of openness and advocacy on behalf of consumer’s best interests.   At our core, Boulevard R demonstrates that independent, unbiased financial advice which doesn’t have an ax to grind can help all Americans- not just the rich who have typically been the only ones who either can afford it or qualify for this kind of advice.

There is still a lot that Boulevard R can do to make the planning process more effective (some of it’s on our development plan and the rest we hoping to hear from you after Oct. 14th), but we feel that our solution goes much farther than anything we’ve seen and really helps consumers with some real expert guidance based on who they are and what’s important to them.

This entry was posted in News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.