American Express Financial Advisors has long positioned itself as providing "financial planning" rather than just hawking products (full disclosure: I worked for American Express in the early 1980s when it was known as Investors Diversified Services).
However, it looks like they might just not be as independent as they claimed. According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) , American Express has just been accused by the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation of skewing their investment recommendations towards their own in-house funds.
The article talks about the incentives given by American Express to its advisors to push their own funds. As Captain Renault would say in Cassablanca "Frankly, I'm shocked -- simply shocked!"
Anyone want to bet on how long it takes Spitzer to pile on?