How To Select A Financial Advisor

Tough Questions To Ask

What is your educational background?

What are your financial planning credentials/designations and affiliations?

How long have you been offering financial planning services?

Do you have clients who might be willing to speak with me about your services?

Will you provide me with references from other professionals?

Have you ever been cited by a professional or regulatory governing body for disciplinary reasons?

Describe your financial planning work experience or attach your resume.

How many clients do you work with?

Are you currently engaged in any other business, either as a sole proprietor, partner, officer, employee, trustee, agent or otherwise?

Will you or an associate of yours work with me?

Will you sign the Fiduciary Oath below?

Do you have a business continuity plan?

How is your firm compensated and how is your compensation calculated?

If the commissions exceed the fee, is the balance credited to me?

Do you have an agreement describing your compensation and services that will be provided in advance of the engagement?

Do you have a minimum fee?

If you earn commissions, approximately what percentage of your firm’s commission income comes from?

Does any member of your firm act as a general partner, participate in, or receive compensation from investments you may recommend to me?

Do you receive referral fees from attorneys, accountants, insurance professionals, mortgage brokers, or others?

Do you receive on-going income from any of the mutual funds that you recommend in the form of “12(b)1” fees, “trailing” commissions, or other continuing payouts?

Are there financial incentives for you to recommend certain financial products?

Do you offer advice on: (check all that apply)

  • Goal setting
  • Cash management & budgeting
  • Tax planning
  • Investment review & planning
  • Estate planning
  • Insurance needs in the area of life, disability, long-term care, health and property/casualty
  • Education funding
  • Retirement planning
  • Other

Do you provide a comprehensive written analysis of my financial situation and recommendations?

Does your financial planning service include recommendations for specific investments or investment products?

Do you offer assistance with implementation with the plan?

Do you offer continuous, on-going advice regarding my financial affairs, including advice on non-investment related financial issues?

Do you take custody of, or have access to my assets?

If you were to provide me on-going investment advisory services, do you require “discretionary” trading authority over my investment accounts?

What regulatory body are you (or your firm) registered with?