Finance

Finding Your Financial Advisor

Finding a trusted financial adviser was not easy. The court of appeals recently reversed the Department of Labor fiduciary rule that was confusing financial consumers. It is crucial to know if your financial advisor will act as a fiduciary or if they are looking for investments that suit you. You should also find out if the advisor is trustworthy and able to understand your needs. We have compiled our top five questions to ask when looking for a financial advisor.

1. Are You a Fiduciary?

Advisors are legally required to protect your interests by following the fiduciary standard. Fiduciary standards require advisors to disclose conflicts of interest and tell you if they are recommending products or other professionals. They must also disclose what fees advisors receive for providing advice.

The suitability standard, on the other hand, is a standard that requires investment advisors to recommend products that are suitable for you. There is no standard that will determine if the investment will help or harm you. Advisors may also be able to recommend products that offer higher commissions than similar products for lower fees, provided they disclose all conflicts of interest.

There are both great and poor advisors who work under both the suitability and fiduciary standards. We adhere to the fiduciary standard, and we are grateful for the trust it offers.

2. What Credentials do You Have?

It is important to know the professional designations and experiences of advisors. It provides valuable insight into advisor knowledge and expertise. There are more than 100 types of credentials, which can make it confusing. You might find it helpful to be familiarized with the following three credentials if you are searching for a financial advisor.

CFP® – CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ®

CFP® professionals have completed university level financial planning coursework, met experience requirements, and passed the CFP® board’s rigorous exam covering 72 topics ranging from investment and risk management to tax and retirement planning, legacy management and the integration of all these disciplines. They pledge to continuous education and high ethical standards. For more information, visit http://www.cfp.net

CFA® – Chartered Financial Analyst ®

CFA credential holders must pass 3 exams. Each requires at least 300 hours of master’s-level study. This includes portfolio management and financial analysis. Professionals must have at least four years’ experience in qualified investments and be able to sign a statement of high ethical conduct each year. Visit www.cfainstitute.org for more information.

CIMA® – Certified Investment Management Analyst®

CIMAs are focused on portfolio construction and asset allocation. Program of study covers five core topics. Applicants must have the required experience, education and examinations. CIMAs are required to continue their professional education. For more information, visit www.imca.org

3. What products and services do you offer?

It is important to find an advisor and a firm that suits your needs. A firm that offers a range investment solutions like asset management might be able to assist you.

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A financial planner can help you assess your current situation and create a plan to achieve your goals. A financial planner can help you plan for retirement, college, tax strategies, risk management, and possibly wealth transfer.

A wealth manager is the best choice if you require both investment and financial advice. This advisor brings a broad range of expertise to assist you in comprehensive planning and portfolio administration.

4. How do you get compensated?

Do not be embarrassed to inquire about fees Each professional should be paid for their work. You can find out if the advisor’s compensation is in line with yours by understanding the details.

Only CommissionsAdvisors are paid according to the products they purchase or sell for clients, including mutual funds, structured investments, and annuities.

Fee onlyIndependent advisors offer fee-only advice. The fee they charge is usually a percentage of assets managed for you. This allows them to benefit from your portfolio’s growth and be penalized if it falls. Fixed fees may be offered for certain services.

Fee-basedThese advisors might charge a fixed fee to provide financial planning services and may also collect a commission for any financial products you purchase or sell. These could include mutual funds, Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs, annuities and insurance.

5. How do you approach someone like me?

It is important to ensure that your advisor has worked with people in your situation. This is especially true if your financial position is complicated due to all the wealth you have amassed over your career. Ask your advisor to talk to you about a client who has similar challenges, and what solutions they have offered.

Sometimes, it can seem overwhelming to find the right financial partnership. It can feel a little like dating. You have to meet many people and ask lots of questions until you find the right person. No matter your situation, advisors are available to help you. They have experience working with clients like you.

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