Are you on the lookout for a trusted financial advisor? But isn’t that what everyone is looking for? Also, won’t every financial advisor say they are trustworthy in an effort to gain your business? Then how do you go about securing the right financial advisor for you? Here are steps you can take to help you filter through the options you will encounter. Hopefully, your reward for this due diligence will be finding a financial advisor you can have confidence in.
Review their qualifications
You will need to do some homework to find what it is you are looking for. What qualifies one person to handle your money over another? Does a certified financial planner work better for you than someone else with a different title? You can think of this as an interview and you are looking for the right person who qualifies to give you the right advice.
Review their history
After you have provided someone your financial portfolio is not the time to find out they have a history of breaking the law. You can check on the advisor’s Form ADV which is filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or take a glance at their Form U-5. You can also view an advisor’s disciplinary history at www.finra.org.
Request to view a quarterly report
Just like you would not buy a car without taking it for a test drive, it only makes sense to see a sample of the advisors work before hiring them. Ask the advisor to walk you through each line of one of their client’s quarterly reports. Of course, the client should remain anonymous, but it gives you a chance to hear about the advisor’s rationale and see results.
How are they paid?
It sure would be nice if the compensation from a financial advisor did not affect the kind of advice you receive. Since this is not the case, you need to understand how compensation will motivate an advisor. An advisor who works on a fee is subject to a fiduciary standard, meaning they must put your interests above their own. If an advisor works on commission, they need to believe that their advice is in line with your financial needs and objectives.
Don’t forget the fine print
Be sure to review all the clauses in an advisor’s contract prior to signing. Things like a mandatory arbitration clause or giving an okay to invest in speculative investments may be a deal breaker.
Choosing the right financial advisor can be stressful and time consuming. Though you may not find someone you can put 100 percent trust in, by creating a checklist that a prospective financial planner needs to pass, you can allow yourself to feel confident about a choice.