Every financial advisor or wealth manager has a background on file with Securities Regulators. It’s easy, and it’s free to check out an advisor’s history.
Just go ahead and do it!
If your advisor is a licensed broker, go to brokercheck.finra.org and simply type in the advisor’s name or the name of his/her firm. Maybe he or she is registered with SEC as an independent investment advisor. If you’re not sure whether an investment advisor works for a brokerage firm, no problem! Head to sec.gov/investor/brokers.htm. If you do not find an advisor’s name listed with regulators ask why not– this could be a big red flag.
Once you decide to starting working with a professional investment advisor, here are the 3 questions you really need to ask:
1. What’s your expertise? Advisors specialize in everything from college planning to estate planning. You really want to make sure what you need is what you get in terms of expertise.
2. What kind of interaction do you expect with this advisor? It is key to set realistic expectations. If you want to be part of every decision or thought process, or you prefer to simply opt out and let your advisor make all the decisions, it’s essential you communicate those expectations right from the start.
3. How am I paying you? You’re the client– and you are paying for professional advice and guidance whether it’s a commission every time you buy or sell an investment or a straightforward fee. You need to clearly understand how and how much you’re paying. My suggestion is to ask your advisor to show you on an actual statement where you see every fee and any charges.
Remember, I’m working on a brand new web tool that will be available next year called, Financial Advisor Connection where we’ll help you find the best-fit advisor by matching your preferences to the right expertise.
Email me if you would like to participate in our pilot. It’s free. Stay Tuned!