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Attitudes Toward the Importance of Unbiased Financial Advice

On April 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor released a new rule that affects professional financial advice related to retirement savings accounts, such as 401(k) plans and IRAs.  This rule states that, when giving investment advice to people with retirement savings accounts, financial advisors must give advice that is in the best interest of the account holders.  In order to gauge the public’s reaction to this new rule, AARP conducted a nationally representative survey of adults ages 25 and older who currently have—or who have had—a retirement savings account.

Key Findings:

An overwhelming majority of retirement account holders ages 25+ express support for the recently announced rule and believe it is important for financial advisors to give financial advice in a client’s best interest.

  • Nearly nine in ten (88%) retirement account holders think it is important that professional financial advisors give advice that is in the best interest of their clients. More than nine in ten (92%) of those who have received professional advice in the past view this as important, compared to 79% of those who have not received professional advice.

  • Roughly nine in ten (91%) agree with the recently announced rule that requires professional financial advice to be in a client’s best interest.  Ninety-three percent (93%) of those who have received professional advice in the past agree with the rule, compared to 87% of those who have not received professional advice.

  • Overall, seven in ten (70%) have received professional financial advice in the past.  Another 10% have not yet received professional advice but expect to in the future.

This telephone survey was conducted for AARP by SSRS, an independent research company.  Interviews were completed  from April 8 through April 17, 2016 among a nationally representative sample of 1,007  adults ages 25 and older who currently have—or who have had in the past—a retirement savings account.  Respondents were reached on landlines and cell phones, with 60% of the interviews completed on cell phones and the remaining 40% on landlines.  For additional information about this report, contact S. Kathi Brown of AARP Research at SKBrown@aarp.org.  Media inquiries should be directed to AARP’s Media Relations Office at media@aarp.org.

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