If you think you\u2019ve seen enough ads and marketing pitches on credit cards, banks, check cashing and other financial services, you\u2019re right.\r\n\r\nFor every dollar that the financial services industry spends on educating consumers, $25 is spent marketing to them, according to a recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (\u201cCFPB\u201d), a new federal agency launched as part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul.\r\n\r\nWhat does that mean?\u00a0 As CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement, \u201cWhen consumers receive the vast majority of their financial information from companies that are trying to promote an image or sell products, consumers have very little unbiased information.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe numbers are astounding. The bureau found that while the financial services industry spends about $17 billion each year on marketing financial products and consumers, the nation (including federal, state and local governments, non-profits AND financial institutions) is spending approximately $670 million on financial education. On a per person basis: $54 per person per year of financial marketing and $2 of education.\r\n\r\nWhile the study was limited to consumer financial products and services like credit cards, banking services and mortgages (and excludes investments), it underscores the need for an unbiased voice in financial services to help consumers make informed decisions.\r\n\r\nLuckily, when you\u2019re navigating your investments, the SEC has labels that can help you more easily identify unbiased advice \u2013 much like FDA labels help you sort out what you're getting in your food.\r\n\r\nThere are two important designations for types of companies: broker-dealers, which employ registered representatives, and registered investment advisors (\u201cRIAs\u201d).\u00a0 Broker-dealers, as the name implies, buy and sell securities for their clients.\u00a0 While they\u2019re required to make \u201csuitable\u201d investment suggestions, they are not under the same fiduciary standard as RIAs. As the Supreme Court outlined in the landmark case SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau in 1963, the fiduciary standard is an \u201caffirmative\u201d duty to act in the best interests of your clients.\u00a0 In other words, they\u2019re liable to their clients to act in their best interest.\r\n\r\nSo if you\u2019re looking for unbiased investment advice, you\u2019ve got a few options. \u00a0If you\u2019re looking for an introduction to investing, the SEC\u2019s website called Investor.gov does a good job laying out what your options are (it has a particularly strong section that pertains to avoiding investment fraud).\u00a0 We think that Khan Academy, another Silicon Valley start-up, is off to a good start when it comes to educational materials on the ABC\u2019s of finance.\r\n\r\nBut you can also lean on SEC labels.\u00a0 Don\u2019t be afraid to ask your advisor what designation he or she falls under.\r\n\r\nPersonal Capital Advisory Services is an RIA.\u00a0 When we launched after the financial crisis, we selected that designation to signal our commitment to act in the best interests of our clients and deliver unbiased advice.\u00a0 While along with any other private company, we have a marketing budget to generate awareness for what we do, we\u2019re subject to the fiduciary standard in our mission to help Americans lead better financial lives.