You may believe Wall Street is a financial powerhouse. It employs thousands of smart people who know how to make money for investors. See Michael Kay’s article in Forbes, Standing Up to Financial Bullies.

If that is true, why is Wall Street dominated by a sales culture that bullies people into buying its products? And, if its advice is that good, why does it have to cheat to maximize revenue and profits?

All too often Wall Street salesmen use aggressive sales tactics to bully people into buying the products that make them and their firms the most money. But, the tactics are cloaked in an aura of respectability so you don’t see them coming.

The Friend

One tactic is to hire nice people with sales skills. Nice is important because Wall Street wants you to like your financial advisor. That’s because it knows you trust people you like. And, once trust is established, you are more likely to buy what the advisor is selling.

The Expert

Another frequently used bullying tactic is “I am an expert and you are not.” You are supposed to buy what the advisor sells because he is a self-purported expert. This is also called an undocumented sales claim.

Non-Disclosure

How do advisors get away with these sales tactics? There are no mandatory disclosure requirements. The bullies can use the tactics with impunity. This includes omission and misrepresentation. Whatever it takes to gain control of your assets.

Your Protection

The Wall Street bullies have stacked the deck against you. It is like the bigger kids picking on smaller kids when you were in high school. Size is the bullies’ way of stacking the deck. You have to learn to protect yourself. No one else is going to do it for you. Here are four simple rules that will help you protect your interests:

  1. Do not be intimidated by advisors. Most of them are salesmen.
  2. You want a financial advisor, not a friend. This is a business relationship.
  3. Do not make decisions based on verbal sales pitches and undocumented sales claims.
  4. Require documentation for key information: Credentials, ethics, business practices, expenses, and services.