Trustworthy?

When it comes to assessing the honesty and ethics of 23 different professions, it's hard to imagine anyone could rank lower in the public eye than journalists or politicians, whose credibility have long been questioned. But in a recent Gallup Poll, stockbrokers did just that. How low is a rep's reputation? Among respondents, only 19 percent rated the honesty and ethical standards of stockbrokers as

When it comes to assessing the honesty and ethics of 23 different professions, it's hard to imagine anyone could rank lower in the public eye than journalists or politicians, whose credibility have long been questioned. But in a recent Gallup Poll, stockbrokers did just that.

How low is a rep's reputation? Among respondents, only 19 percent rated the honesty and ethical standards of stockbrokers as being “high” or “very high.” That compares with 29 percent and 25 percent for congressmen and journalists, respectively.

The broker's image problem is persistent. The profession hasn't scored higher than 20 percent since 1981.

Firefighters top the list, with a 90 percent rating, not surprising after their heroics September 11. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and clergy also did well.

Brokers can take heart, however, in the fact that lawyers, labor union leaders and insurance salesmen all scored lower on the morality scale. Car salesmen came in dead last.

The Gallup findings contrast with a study of investors by Harris Interactive last fall on behalf of the Securities Industry Association, indicating that 91 percent were at least “somewhat satisfied” with their brokers. (See story and chart on page 22.)

Whom Do You Trust?

A sampling of the results…
Profession Percentage of ‘High’ or ‘Very High’ Ratings
Firefighters 90
Policemen 68
Doctors 66
Clergy 64
Accountants 41
Bankers 34
Journalists 29
Congressmen 25
Stockbrokers 19
Lawyers 18
Car salesmen 8
Source: Gallup Poll
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