Feb 4, 2021
AARP Interview an Advisor™: New Investor Resource for Evaluating A Financial Advisor
Research Shows More than 80% of Investors Unaware that Financial Advisors Can Put Their Interests Ahead of Clients

WASHINGTON —AARP today launched “AARP Interview an Advisor™,” a new free resource to help investors assess and better understand the credentials of financial advisors and how they are compensated. The new resource was developed in response to a Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) 2019 ruling that ended a long-standing regulation requiring financial advisors to put their clients' interest above their own. AARP Interview an Advisor™ guides users through process of researching potential advisors and provides evaluation tools along the way.   

An AARP survey found more than 80% of American investors were not aware of the SEC ruling and, upon learning about it, four-in-five investors (83%) opposed the change.

“With millions of American families concerned about the financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it is crucial for them to be equipped with the best resources and information when selecting a financial advisor,” said Jean Setzfand, AARP Senior Vice President of Programming. “The new SEC regulation states that advisors must act in their client’s ‘best interest,’ but falls short of defining exactly what that term means. AARP Interview an Advisor tool will help to inform investors on evaluating their financial advisor.”

AARP Interview an Advisor™” is an online resource that provides guidance and a checklist for investors on how to assess the services and standards of financial advisors. Investors are invited to fill out a short survey that evaluates the potential advisor and compares them on a three-point scale. It also provides investors with advice on how to effectively communicate with a prospective advisor, assess their credentials and better understand how advisors are compensated.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Roughly 70% of investors have at least two investment accounts. Among those with multiple accounts, 74% do not use the same financial institution to manage all of their accounts.
  • 90% of investors either somewhat (52%) or completely (38%) trust the financial institutions or advisors who manage their investment accounts.
  • Despite 68% of investors believing that they are somewhat (54%) or very (14%) knowledgeable about their investments, 41% mistakenly believe that they don’t pay any fees or expenses for their investment accounts.
  • Yet 58% of investors think financial advisors would choose to increase their earnings by selling their clients higher cost investment products even if similar lower cost products are available.

To view the annotated questionnaire and the full study methodology for the survey underpinning this report, please go to www.aarp.org/investorsurvey. The study conducted, by NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of AARP, surveyed 1,577 U.S adults ages 25 and older who have money saved in retirement savings accounts and/or other investment accounts. The survey was conducted between August 22, 2019 and August 26, 2019, and it has a margin of error of ±3.5 percent.

# # #

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.orgwww.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media. ​

For further information: Colby Nelson, cnelson@aarp.org, 202-706-8416