Rise Above Advertisements with Misleading Claims

I’m sure many of you have seen the Questrade TV advertisements that steadily feature a blasé or disinterested Investment Advisor sitting with his informed client. The premise is that the Advisor is indifferent and charges exorbitant fees for investments. The client is there to inform the Advisor that they are moving their account, and tell them they can get their services cheaper—up to 30%—with Questrade.

On so many levels, this series of ads make me uneasy. Here are my viewpoints:

  1. There is some truth to it. Many Advisors are less than reputable and do attach clients to investments that are expensive. Or underperforming. Or both.
  2. The Advisor in question only dispenses investments, and apparently does nothing else for the client.
  3. It is possible the claim to save ‘up to 30%’ on fees may be true, but no mention is made of the offending investments. We need to ask more questions, yet maybe the typical TV watcher does not reflect on that.
  4. Good Advisors are there to move heaven and earth to save you on fees. I know we do.
  5. Good Advisors go far beyond mere ‘selling’ of investments. We are there to be next to you on the entire financial journey. That goes to planning, insurance, estate considerations, tax planning and beyond. We are here to serve, not to sell.
  6. Questrade has made the proposition this is all about cost.

Our rebuttal is that choosing the right financial advisor is entirely about value.

Part of that value is absolutely about cost, and we take that very seriously. The lack of balance in these advertisements is particularly offensive when I reflect on how dedicated we are to our work.  Maybe Questrade is right about some of this, but when compared to how we approach our work at Precision Wealth, my view is that these advertisements are misleading.

Perhaps to confirm the reason for my unease—it is with some pleasure I read the following article about their recent run-in with the Regulators:

“Questrade agrees to pay OSC $2.9M over WisdomTree ETF purchases”