Thursday, January 5, 2012

Relationship Managers & Receptionists are not Stock Brokers. Talk to the right person.


 I have been observing this for some time now and I think it is getting on my nerves and moreover, investors are losing money because of this issue. I have been a victim and it was due to my ignorance. Don't make the same mistake. Some thing must be done. The Securities and Exchange Commission must act now to protect investors.

To many people in the Ghanaian financial market, everyone that works in a brokerage firm or with a Licensed Dealing Member (LDM) is having a good knowledge about the market or is a stock broker (Authorized Dealing Member). This misinformed public perception is reinforced by some ordinary workers at some brokerage houses who give their misleading recommendations about stocks on the market to ignorant investors. They speak so fluently and courageous as if they are authorized to give investment advice whiles their job is just to help investors or clients fill forms, explain the various investment opportunities to the client or direct them to the licensed /authorized advisor.  

On several occasions, a Relationship manager of a reputable Brokerage house tried to advise me on my investments with the aim of convincing me to invest in the firm's investment product which was a mutual fund whiles I insisted on talking to a broker. She thought I was just an ordinary investor who knows little or nothing about what I’m doing. She told me the stock market is not a place I should invest in. I asked why? And all she was able to say is that she doesn't invest there so she won't advise anyone to.  This was so surprising to me because I make so much money from the stock market. Moreover, she and her colleagues don’t have any authority to confuse investors in the name of investment advisory. It’s pathetic that investors are misled by this kind of ignorant people who act as experts. This must stop now.

I experienced the same thing in another brokerage firm when a receptionist tried to mislead me just because there was no broker around at that time. I ended up lecturing her about the current affairs on the market and the last thing she asked was my business card.

The Securities and Exchange Commission did not license these firms as broker-dealers or investment advisors because of the bogus advices their receptionists and relationship managers give. Every stakeholder must note this and I would advise all investors to seek for good advice from authorized, qualified and recognized investment advisory firms or people. The fact that someone works in such firms doesn’t make the person qualified to give investment advices. Be cautious and insist on talking to the best before you make any investment decision. Meanwhile don’t forget to do your homework before you invest. Study very well what you are investing in and talk to the experts not ‘ignorant’ receptionist.

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