The Investment Scientist

America’s Top Financial Advisors: How Are They Made?

Posted on: March 24, 2011

I must confess: I have fallen short of the standards and requirements to become one of America’s Best Financial Advisors. To be exact, I am $497 short.

In March of last year, I received an email with a congratulatory title: “You Have Been Nominated To Be One of America’s Top Advisors.” I eagerly opened the email. It read:

You have been nominated to be listed on the most Exclusive List of Financial Advisors in America….We would love to have you as a member of this exclusive club and I have attached additional information regarding how our unique marketing model works.  We will be advertising the list of Top Advisors in the Wall Street Journal next week so I would like to get you included before the deadline on Monday.

I opened the attachment; it was a list of prices ranging from a $5,000 Featured Corporate Membership to an $800 Basic Listing + Logo Use. Yes, for a mere $800, I could use their nicely designed logo “Top Financial Advisors 2010” on my website.

The email was sent from, which claimed to be “the #1 website for the Top Financial Professionals in America.” I emailed back with a question: “Who nominated me?” Silence for about two weeks, then another email:

Just to follow up if you are still interested in a listing on our site. I can offer you a 20% discount. Our first ad in the WSJ is set to run and we would love to have you on the site by Friday.

To that I replied, “So $640 is all it takes to be listed as one of America’s Top Financial Advisors? Any catch?” This time the response was quick:

No catch. We’ve done our due diligence on your firm. We only select 10 per city.

How they did due diligence I have no idea; they certainly did not call me to ask any questions. They must have browsed my website. I decided to ignore them. But they just wouldn’t go away. Two weeks later, I got another email from them:

Just wanted to reach out and inform you that we will be running a special promotion and can offer you a premier listing on the site and unlimited logo license use for just $497 (regularly $800-$2,500). This promotion ends on Friday May 21st at 7pm PST.

Well, get in line, I have already gotten similar offers from people who claimed to be from reputable national magazines and want to feature me as a top financial advisor in my local market (Washington DC.) Only their prices were in the thousands of dollars.

If you are an investor, would you hire an advisor who has many purchased accolades on his or her office wall? Many advisors think you would; that’s why there is a thriving market selling awards and recognitions.

Get my white paper: The Informed Investor: 5 Key Concepts for Financial Success.

5 Responses to "America’s Top Financial Advisors: How Are They Made?"

Thank you for posting this. Another example, of the financial services industry at its best.

How Much Do “Financial Advisors” Pay for Doctor
[Any Client] Prospect Leads?

Recently, I received the sixth telephone cold call from one Mr. Tim Smith [866 952 4065], in as many months, regarding a service called Prospect Match of Concord California. It purports to match financial advisors with pre-screened clients [like affluent doctors] in my area.

Read more:

Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA, CMP

Hi, yes this post is truly fastidious and I have learned lot of
things from it about blogging. thanks.

Cecilia, I am glad you learn something.

Your mode of telling everything in this paragraph is truly good, every one be able to
without difficulty understand it, Thanks a lot.

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.


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