From working at one of the largest corporations in the world (AXA, 13th largest company according to Fortune) I know how the big financial services firms work and these companies are founded on low service, big reputation to sell. In reality people are taking advice from people with horrible porfolios themselves that mostly comprise just their 401k plan, and stocks and mutual funds they know nothing about or have been told to invest by the actual researchers. I would go with a small, private firm. For example, in the past year I have used two agencies with less than 5 employees each, that charge a small yearly fee to manage your porfolio and they do all the research, have over 20 years of experience and speak with you in person. In the industry with large companies you never get this. The people doing the research are never seen to defend their stance, and those with 20 years tend to spend more time recruiting and managing than doing what go them to where they were. Who's interest is at stake here? With smaller private firms, these companies not only invest your money in what they invest in, but also get affected by the market if your money is affected.
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