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Few trust the finance industry

By Sheyna Steiner · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

A new survey has found that nearly half of investors trusted their financial services company less in 2010 than they did in 2009.

It's no great mystery why investors would be fed up with the antics of big banks and investment firms but the survey asked anyway.

The Edelman Trust in U.S. Financial Services Survey found that investors with the highest levels of withering trust in financial institutions felt that the companies acted in a greedy manner, 46 percent, and nearly 20 percent felt that the industry made the economic problems worse.

According to the survey, investors ranked honest communication and transparent business practices well above price or customer service when it came to the reputation of a financial services company.

Luckily for the frontlines of the investment industry, the general distrust doesn't always spill over into professional interactions.

Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents said that the faces of financial service companies, brokers, advisers, agents and bankers are the most trustworthy sources of information from the companies.

That's helpful, because investors weary of Wall Street excesses and machinations still need to invest to meet their long-term goals. Unless you have a lot of it, hiding money in mattresses will likely not get you to retirement.  

In addition to a solid foundation of financial literacy, an established relationship with a financial adviser can be worth its weight in gold.  Even just a couple of hours with a fee-only financial planner can mean the difference between confusion and clarity for individuals who need to get a handle on their finances.

Like all relationships, finding the right financial adviser can be a trial and error process. Read the Bankrate feature, "10 ways to rate your financial adviser" to learn 10 ways to identify the best, and worst, characteristics of financial advisers.

Do you think financial institutions need more regulation and oversight, or do you trust them?

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