I was motivated to become a financial adviser by two different brokers who misled my family after my father's death. The first broker - who invested almost all our money in two high-yield property syndicates that subsequently failed, instead of recommending a diversified portfolio - taught me that if an investment sounds too good to be true, then it surely is.

And by needlessly signing us up for 10 different endowments in an attempt to win a competition for the most sales in his company, the second broker gave me an invaluable lesson about advisers with conflicts of interest.

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