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We find that individuals are confused by the titles used by investment professionals and cannot distinguish between investment advisers and brokers. This confusion persists even among those with investment industry experience, a college degree, or a high level of perceived knowledge (one’s self-assessment or feeling of knowing the information). Surveyed individuals better identified the brokerage responsibilities of “an investment sales representative” (an alternate title for broker) than the more ambiguous titles brokers often use, such as “financial advisor.”

About the Author(s)

Patrick A. Lach CFA

Patrick A. Lach, CFA, is assistant professor of finance at Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, Indiana.

Leisa Reinecke Flynn

Leisa Reinecke Flynn is a professor and chair of the Department of Marketing and International Business at the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia.

G. Wayne Kelly

G. Wayne Kelly is professor of finance and department chair (retired) at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi.