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Examples of conflicts of interest between a planner and a client include:

  • Commission-based individuals working for broker/dealers and insurance agencies.
  • Planners compensated by commissions on products that they recommend.
  • Fee-based arrangements that allow a planner to earn both fees and commissions.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of financial advisors are sellers of financial products. Some or all of their income may be dependent upon their ability to steer clients to a limited number of the thousands of financial products available today. These advisors include stockbrokers, now euphemistically called "financial consultants", insurance agents, accountants, attorneys and most financial planners. Many clients are not aware of their advisors' dependence on selling products, or do not recognize its significance.