Whether you’re searching for a new advisor or preparing for your regular check-in, it always helps to be prepared. Here are three things we think you should ask your financial advisor.
- How are you compensated? Depending on their model of compensation, an advisor may have bias or incentive towards a specific product, solution, or recommendation. A “fee only” advisor” is compensated directly by their clients, while a commission based advisor is paid as a function of the sale of products or investments. You are entitled to know how your advisor is paid and how their incentives may impact the advice they give.
- What are your credentials? There are a lot of 3- and 4-letter designations in the financial world. Ask your advisor what credentials they have, what the certification process(es) entailed, and what the ongoing education requirements are. Different designations have different focuses. For example, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) may specialize in investment analysis and portfolio management, while a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) will have a broader focus (tying in social security, insurance coverage, estate considerations, and tax planning). Spend some time thinking about credentials, your needs, and the rigor of the various certifications.
- Are you a Fiduciary? A fiduciary is legally obligated by the “fiduciary standard” to act in the best interest of their client. Many investment professionals (depending on their affiliation/registration) are not fiduciaries, but are merely bound to the less stringent “suitability standard”. Consider this important distinction in the context of your client/advisor relationship.
More questions? Get in touch and let us know.