Advisor vs. Adviser: Definition, Meaning, Difference

advisor vs adviser definition meaning difference

Many English words can really confuse you beyond your wildest imagination. Like the pair, we are about to look at now. What do you call yourself, is it an “adviser” or an “advisor”?

Advisor vs. Adviser: What is the Difference?

If you are a Registered Investment Adviser, then you might call yourself an “adviser.” But if by chance, you are a broker, you might refer to yourself as an “advisor.”

But what is the difference between these two words?

This is what we are going to deal with in this post.

A broker might refer to himself as an “advisor.”Registered Investment Adviser might call himself an “adviser.”
  E.g., He calls himself an advisor but he is actually a broker.  E.g., Jim has become a Registered Investment Adviser.

But it is not so straightforward because many professionals use both terms interchangeably. According to experts, both these spellings are correct and they mean one who advises or counsels.  Basically, there is no difference between them.

However, please be advised that adviser is the older version, and this is the primary spelling in most dictionaries. But there can be no doubt that when it comes to legal definitions, even a vowel can mean a lot.

You might have heard that not every type of financial planning and financial advice might need any kind of investment advice. But most of the time, you might see them in case of budgeting, debt management, and insurance coverage.

Since they are not providing investment advice, it is not necessary to call them advisers. Rather you can call them “advisor. But it still can make things a bit complicated. Sometimes it alleviates the compliance concern as well.

But it is not the same for every organization. Like the SEC will never bother if you call yourself “adviser,” “advisor” or “consultant.” When you are providing investment, one would call you nothing but an “Investment Adviser.”

So, how can you sort this confusion, as in which spelling is the correct one to use? Well, I guess it will be a bit easier with this definition by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

It shall be unlawful for any person registered under section 203 of this title to represent that he is an investment counselor to use the name ‘‘investment counsel’’ as descriptive of his business unless (1) his or its principal business consists of acting as investment adviser, and (2) a substantial part of his or its business consists of rendering investment supervisory services.

Advisor or Adviser?

When we are talking in a day-to-day manner, both the words with slightly spelling basically mean the same thing.

However, as per the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940 promotes the spelling “adviser” with an “e.” This is why some financial advisors also prefer to use the official language, while others like to spell it “advisor.”

The most important takeaway part here for us is that regardless of the spelling your finance professional uses, it doesn’t reflect their level of expertise. Only their certification and the kind of financial advice they give is what really matters — and that is how you should choose them in the first place.


So, there you have it. The difference between “advisor” and “adviser”. Let us know if you have any other queries.

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