What questions will help in your search to find an advisor?
It’s time to find an advisor.
Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough money to warrant the effort. Perhaps you thought you could handle your own investments better than a professional. But now a specific need (saving for college, funding retirement), life event, or money management challenge compels you to find an advisor. Where to begin?
For the majority of Affluent households, referrals from a friend or family member are the predominant way to find an advisor, according to ongoing research conducted by Spoectrem’s Millionaire Corner. But before even that, individuals should give studied consideration to the type of advisor to whom they will entrust their money and what qualities they seek in him or her.
Among the most common types of financial service providers are a financial planner, full service broker-dealer and investment advisor representative. A financial planner helps investors take stock of their financial situation, set financial goals, implement strategies to achieve them, and measure program to ensure the financial plan is on track. They must go through rigorous training and testing before they can be certified. They must also adhere to a strict code of ethics.
A broker-dealer sells securities and other investment products. Unlike a financial planner, they are not bound by federal law to a fiduciary duty, meaning they must work in their client’s best interest. They are required to give “suitable” investment advice and to disclose any conflicts of interest to a client.
An investment advisor representative, also known as an investment manager, asset manager, wealth manager or portfolio manager, provides ongoing management of investments as directed by their clients.
Generally, potential clients of a financial advisor primarily demand that their advisor be honest and trustworthy and keeps them in the loop about how their money is being managed, Millionaire Corner research finds. Communication, too, is a primary factor in advisor satisfaction.
When you begin the process of trying to find an advisor, questions can help to focus the search. Among them are:
· What services do you offer?
· Do you work with other clients whose financial situation is similar to mine?
· What is your experience? Where were you schooled? What licenses, registrations and qualifications do you have?
· Are you paid by fees or commissions? Could you explain your fee structure?
· Are you required to work in my best interest?
· Do you have a Central Registration Depository number? Have you had a disciplinary action taken against you?
· What, if any, conflicts of interest might you have in working with me?
Affluent investors who do find an advisor find that the benefits are worth it. Among the most common cited are an improvement in their financial and investment knowledge, expanded investment opportunities, and improvement in investment returns. Those less confidence in their own financial knowledge report it also provides peace of mind.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.