The first step to choosing a financial advisor is to make sure that they are reputable. They should be registered with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) or the State.
Financial advisors may have certificates or designations. A Certified Financial Planner has gone through a 2 year certification process. A Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist has taken classes and an exam from the American Institute of CPAs. They must be re-certified every 3 years. Chartered Financial Consultant designations are granted by The American College upon completion of seven required courses and two elective courses. A reputable advisor will not be offended if you ask to see their certificate and/or registration.
Determine if you will be more comfortable dealing with a large company (i.e. Fidelity, Merrill Lynch), an advisor affiliated with a large firm or an independent advisor. Each has their own positives and negatives. It must be the right fit for you. Make an appointment with the one that you think serves you best. If you’re not comfortable, try another advisor. Do not settle on someone that you’re not comfortable with.
Before committing, determine how your advisor is paid. Options are usually fee or commission. Commissions encourage advisors to move money around just to make commissions and select options with commissions when no commission options are available.
Ask how often the advisor will review your portfolio and how often you will meet to discuss it. Do not consider an advisor that does not meet with you at least once a year. Twice a year or more is preferable.
A good advisor will explain all of your options to you and include you in the decision making process. If you do not understand your options, ask the advisor to explain them again. You should not be pushed into something that you are uncomfortable with. Do not select someone that does a hard sell.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and are not necessarily the same as those of Ausdal Financial Partners.
* Securities offered through Ausdal Financial Partners, Member FINRA/SIPC, 220 North Main Street, Suite 400, Davenport, Iowa 52801 (563) 326-2064. Joan K. Norton, CMFC, RFC, LLC and Ausdal Financial Partners are Independent Companies.