Individual investors have a wide range of choices for investment advice. Brokerage firms, banks, insurance companies, financial planners and even accountants offer investment recommendations and all of these firms can have Very Different Fees and Conflicts of Interest.
I was a branch manager for both national and northwest based brokerage firms for many years. I have seen the pressure these firms can put on their salespeople to increase commissions and fees every year by recommending investments that are much more profitable for the firm but might not be in the best interest of the investor.
In the early 1990’s the deregulation of brokerage commissions led to an entirely new type of investment firm, Discount Brokers. These new firms developed Consolidated Brokerage Accounts that made it possible for investors to hold all types of securities including Mutual Funds from Different Fund Families in one place. Exchange Traded Index Funds (ETF’s) were created that allowed investors to easily invest into markets worldwide with no minimum investment and very low expenses.
The Technology Boom and the rapid development of the Internet made it easy for investors to see how the Performance and Expenses of investments recommended by their brokers compared to all the other choices that were easily available to them. Investors started to realize that the big investment and insurance firms with their Pressure to Sell and High Fees might not be the best choice to help them manage their investments.
I started Performance Tracking Inc. (PTI) in 1992 to be able to work for investors as an investment advisor rather than an employee of a brokerage firm. As an independent advisor I could Set My Own Fees, offer true Discount Brokerage Services and manage portfolios as a fiduciary without the Conflicts of Interest that are still common in the brokerage industry today.