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Adviser’s YouTube video attracts $1M client

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Kristen Andee

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Video on suitability, fiduciary standard gets extra clicks

By Lavonne Kuykendall

November 2, 2011 10:15 am ET

While it’ll never compete with a Justin Bieber music video for YouTube views, one financial planner’s post on financial standards of client care has become an unlikely hit.


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In “Top 7 Things Your Wall Street Broker Doesn’t Want You to Know,” Alexander Efros, president and founder of Athelon Wealth Management LLC in Staten Island, N.Y., explains the differences between the broker’s suitability standard and the registered investment adviser’s fiduciary standard. Specifically, he points out that brokers are allowed to put their interests ahead of clients or steer clients only to products that pay a sales commission.

Mr. Efros said he was driven to make the video by his days as an auditor for a big accounting firm where he “saw a lot of the games being played with investors.”

“I wanted to get that message out there, even if viewers don’t become clients,” he added.

Mr. Efros’ YouTube channel has several investment videos, and he plans to keep adding more. Mr. Efros said the attention proves that investors want to know.

“It has to sink in for a while,” Mr. Efros said. “Investors are used to receiving free financial advice, and there is no such thing. They get a puzzled look and say, ‘How do you make money?’”

Two viewers he knows of called his firm after watching the video, one of whom had investible assets of about $1 million. He told Mr. Efros that when he made a complaint to his broker, he was told that maybe he would be happier elsewhere.

“I was amazed there would be a financial adviser who would tell a $1 million account to go away,” Mr. Efros said.