Consumer information

Clear professional titles for independent investment advice

On 1 August 2014, the law on fee-based advisory services entered into force. As a result, the official job profile of the independent investment advisor was established. The law specifies that fee-based advisers may only be paid by the customer. Fee-based advisers are thus not dependent on commission payments from the providers of financial investment products. Fee-based Advisers must have appropriate qualifications and be listed in a public register.

In the coalition agreement of 2013, the federal government resolved to further strengthen fee-based advisory services as an alternative to advice provided on a commission basis. To this end, the central features of fee-based advisory services should be clearly identifiable by the consumer in the job description. These core aspects include the independent nature of the advice, free from commission interests, and that fees must be paid for the advice.

The wirksam regieren project group supported the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in the development and testing of job descriptions which are clear and understandable to consumers in an ongoing research project with an external contractor. The job description should make it possible for consumers to differentiate advisers who are dependent on commission in their work from those who are not dependent on commission.

Aim of the project

Support in the development of a research design for identifying a job description for independent financial advisers with high clarity and informative value.

Measures

Development of possible alternatives to the professional title of “Honorarberater” (fee-based adviser) and development of a research design for comparing the alternatives with respect to comprehensibility and clarity.

Methodology

Suitable professional titles which make the core aspects of “fee-based advisory services” clear were identified in a group discussion.
In an online survey, more than a thousand consumers were asked which professional title best reflects the core ideas of “fee-based advisory services”.

Current status

The project was completed in November 2016. A summary of findings by wirksam regieren and a link to the report published by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection can be found on the German version of this site (German only).

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