As Fools who take control of our own financial futures, we tend to assume that most readers are already investing in stocks, saving regularly, or working toward financial plans of their own design.

Yet we may be wrong. Top financial institutions control hundreds of billions in assets on behalf of clients. Including its Merrill Lynch subsidiary, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) had $1.7 trillion under management from brokerage, money management, and custodial clients as of December. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) provides brokerage and investment advice for clients whose assets total more than $1.6 trillion. You may be one of those clients.

If so, great! We'd love to know why. For as my Foolish colleague Matt Koppenheffer points out here, Warren Buffett has long counseled against allowing others -- "Helpers," he calls them -- to manage money for fees that cut deeply into investing profits.

Surely the story doesn't end there. If it did, why do so many of us continue to pour hundreds of billions into the coffers of big banks? Have we simply been duped? Or are brokers and advisors adding legitimate value to their clients?

Seriously, I'm asking. Whether you're a financial advisor or broker yourself, or a customer with an experience to share, I want to hear your story. Please vote in the poll below and then scroll down and leave a comment to explain your response. You can also email us at

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.