CFI Blog

Why Don’t You See Testimonials?

“Better than sliced bread!”
–Any number of paid testimonials

“Testimonials are enough to convince people for now.”
–Alex Chiu

If you go to almost any website selling something (and, yes, I am selling something, let’s not kid ourselves), you’ll see quotations and pictures of happy people draped all over the website.

Why is this so?

It builds credibility.

Without knowing anything else, which home page would you trust more?

Number one


Number two

If you knew nothing else, you’d see the testimonial, which would develop more trust.

Therefore, as a competent financial planner, I should have testimonials draped all over my site, right?

I’ve done it before, and it worked like a charm.

There’s just one little itty bitty problem about testimonials and financial planners.

The SEC doesn’t allow them.

Allow me to quote the Securities and Exchange Commission on this one:

Rule 206(4)-1 under the Advisers Act prohibits SEC-registered investment advisers from using any advertisement that contains any untrue statement of material fact or that is otherwise misleading. The rule broadly defines “advertisement” to include any notice, circular, letter, or other written communication addressed to more than one person, or any notice or other announcement in any publication or by radio or television, that offers any investment advisory service.

 In addition, an advertisement may not:

  • use or refer to testimonials (which include any statement of a client’s experience or endorsement)

 How else can I build trust with you?

  • Time. Purchasing financial planning services is rarely an impulse purchase. It’s not as if Monkey Brain is jumping around telling you that you need to go see someone to figure out what to do with your finances. There are very, very few financial decisions which you’ll ever have to make in the heat of the moment. Hiring a planner is almost never one of them.
  • Transparency. I tell stores. I tell a lot of stories. They’re all personal. If there’s a stupid financial mistake someone could make, chances are that I’ve made it. I’ve also come out on the other side of them all and can tell you what life is like on the other side. It’s nice. It’s worth the effort.

Credibility. I write about a lot of things. I have hundreds of articles on the site. Type something into that search box at the top of the page and see what you get. If Google replies “I ain’t got nothin’,” then shoot me a note and ask me to write about it. I take requests. I’m not the best DJ in the world, but I do take requests!

Author Profile

John Davis
John Davis is a nationally recognized expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, and identity theft. He has written four books about his expertise in the field and has been featured extensively in numerous media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News, CNBC, Fox Business, and many more. With over 20 years of experience helping consumers understand their credit and identity protection rights, John is passionate about empowering people to take control of their finances. He works with financial institutions to develop consumer-friendly policies that promote financial literacy and responsible borrowing habits.

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