Marketing materials of top U.S. brokerage firms strongly imply advisors act as trusted fiduciaries; but when disputes arise and they appear in arbitration proceedings, they’re quick to point out no such fiduciary responsibility exists.

Read: Who advises the advisors?

That’s the conclusion of a scathing report by U.S.-based Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA).

The report gives the example of Wells Fargo. “This brokerage firm uses these words in its ads: ‘A healthy relationship with your Financial Advisor should make you feel that your best interests are the top priority, no matter what is happening in the market and no matter the size of your portfolio. Furthermore, you should like your advisor, and both you and your advisor should feel that all concerns are heard and addressed.’

“In private arbitrations, Wells Fargo has refused to acknowledge owing a fiduciary duty. It stated in one such proceeding: ‘The law establishes that a broker does not owe a fiduciary duty to a customer with respect to a non-discretionary account.’”

Read more here.

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