A commissioned sales representatives who is employed by a brokerage firm, mutual fund family, life insurance company, or bank, and whose job it is to sell these products to customers.
two types of investment firms
To the layperson, all financial consultants appear to be in one type of investment business. After all, each of them competes for the same investment dollar, and they each talk the same game. However, on closer inspection, there are actually two separate businesses: investment sales and investment advice.
Sales representatives, whether an employee or independent contractor, are often “captive agents”, meaning that they work for only one firm, and are not permitted to sell the products of other firms. This arrangement can lead to a loss of objectivity. After all, if commissions can be earned only on the sales of proprietary financial products, there is no incentive to evaluate competing products. The motivation is simply to sell the in-house company created products, without objective advice regarding other options.
Further, a company may push its representatives to sell certain products or meet sales quotas, or reward sales contest winners with vacations and prizes. Salespeople are not fiduciaries, and can be identified by the title “registered representative”.