A broker is an individual who works with a broker dealer firm and is in the business of selling stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds and other investment products. As a registered representative of their broker dealer, they can make commissions on sales made in a clients account. A commission is a sales charge, which can be taken at the time of the sale or during some of the holding period of the security. There are over 600,000 registered representatives working for over 3800 broker dealers. Some well known broker dealers include Edward Jones, Raymond James, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, LPL Financial, and many others.
An RIA or Registered Investment Advisor is a firm which provides estate, retirement, and financial planning, money management and other services. They are registered with either the SEC or their state regulatory authority, or both. There are about 12,000 RIAs and they average about 15-20 employees, although many are much larger. Rather than commissions, RIAs generally charge fees on a percentage of assets under management. As relationship advisors, by law they must act in a higher fiduciary capacity, meaning they must always act in a client&rsquos overall best interest.
Bank trust departments may also offer financial advice. They operate much like RIAs since they are fee based and not commission based. You will also find some retail bankers Insurance agents, or even CPAs offering advice, but if that advice involves financial investments then they must be doing it through a broker-dealer or RIA model. Knowing who to work with can be a challenge, which in large part involves trust. Knowing who your advisors work for and how they are compensated is a good place to start.
Our mission is to help establish, manage, and protect our clients' financial plans, and we take that very seriously. The Argent Advisors team in Monroe has over 60 years of combined financial planning experience. No matter where your objectives fall, we help our clients establish a definitive goal-oriented plan for current needs and for the future. Argent Advisors in Monroe are fee-based Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). We agree on an annual management fee, and then we work for YOU. We make no money on account activity or the strategies selected. We have no proprietary products. Our independent process assures you that we are acting in your best interest, not in ours! If you have any question about your financial planning needs, please contact our office.
Sources: statista.com and finra.org