Are you one of the 60%?
Here are some questions to ask your current or potential advisor and what to look for in their answers.
- Are you a fiduciary? A direct question deserves a direct answer. Pay attention to how the advisor responds. If your advisor has told you that he or she is acting as a fiduciary, ask them to show that to you in writing.
- Do you receive any type of compensation in addition to what I’m paying you? Some advisors receive commissions or other product-based compensation when they steer clients into particular investment products (such as mutual funds, annuities and variable annuities). This is a clear conflict of interest and can indicate that the advisor is not, in fact, a fiduciary. Make sure your advisor is providing unbiased advice and not simply selling you investment products.
- Are you “dual-registered”? Some advisors are registered as both investment advisors and broker-dealers. Often, a broker-dealer is acting in the role of salesperson. If your advisor is also a broker-dealer, make sure you understand which hat they are wearing when providing advice to you.
- Have you ever been cited by a professional or regulatory organization for disciplinary reasons? To be extra sure, you can look up the advisor’s records on FINRA’s BrokerCheck to find out if they have any complaints. Keep a close eye out for complaints related to providing financial and advisory services.