According to Bill, back in 2007 he saw a financial advisor about his and his wife's financial situation. He says he showed his financial advisor a piece of paper on which he had listed exactly where he wanted his money to go. Bill says he had very specifically listed how his money was to be invested, but the financial advisor did not follow those directions.
Unfortunately, Bill did not learn that his money was put in the wrong investments until after 3 months had passed. Approximately ninety days after he saw the financial advisor, Bill received a statement about his accounts. At that point, he realized that the financial advisor had not followed his instructions. By the time the financial advisor was able to correct the mistake, Bill's investment had lost 50 percent of its value.
"The agent didn't do what I told her to do. My money was put in the AIG VALIC [AIG Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, now known as AIG Retirement] and I didn't want that, but by the time I got a hold of her to tell her she messed up, there wasn't very much money in it.
"The investment has about $32,000 in it, but if the financial advisor had done what I asked, it would have been closer to $35,000. If you do stuff like that to one investor, then there are probably a million others like me who have had this done to them.
"I know that there are people out there with more serious problems than that, but I have the paperwork to show what happened. There are probably many more people who dealt with that agent. She worked for 4 to 5 more months after all of this went on. Not long after that she quit. She was hard to get in touch with—I would call and it would take her 2 to 3 days to call me back.
"The other thing is that we didn't see a contract. We didn't get anything for the investment until we got the quarterly papers. That's when I said, 'I didn't ask for this investment.' But by then, it had dropped by a minimum of 50 percent.
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Financial advisors have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients. When a client says that he or she wants money put into certain investments, the financial advisor has a duty to follow the investor's wishes. In Bill's case, the financial advisor's failure to follow his instructions cost him approximately 50 percent of the investment's value. While that may not seem like a lot of money to some people, it is money that Bill would have had if the advisor had done what Bill asked.