CHICAGO – The number of wealthy investors who turn to brokers for advice has dropped nearly 27% over the past two years, concerned that information shared may not be comprehensive enough or too biased, according to a recent study. Spectrem Group, a research firm for the affluent and retirement markets, surveyed more than 300 Americans over the summer with at least $5 million in investable assets. Its findings revealed that roughly 30% used a full-service broker in 2003, down from 41% in 2001. Investors under the age of 50 and over age 65 used brokers less than other age groups, the survey said. Those who chose to leave their brokers did so because many left out important discussions on such concerns as estate or tax planning. Some were also concerned that brokers offered biased advice with the intent to make money for the broker or the firm rather than the client, according to the survey. Further, all wealthy people do not use a financial advisor, the survey revealed. Nearly 22% of respondents said they do not use any type of advisor mainly because they felt they were more knowledgeable than a professional advisor. Of those who chose not to use a broker, 65% said they avoided financial advisors affiliated with a brokerage, bank, insurance or mutual fund firm because they felt those entities are paid better if they provide their own products, the survey revealed. Still, 15% of respondents said they used an investment advisor in 2003, compared with 8% in 2001. The number of people using a financial planner increased to 17%, from 15% in 2001 and 14% said they turned to an investment manager, up from 7% in 2001. Above all, the survey showed that wealthy people want information about asset allocation, taxes and estate planning and do not like products being pushed on them.

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