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What are the most important questions to ask a financial advisor when trying to decide which one to hire?


This is something many American adults want to know. Fifty-nine percent want financial advice but don’t know where to find it. So says a new survey from cloud-based technology platform intelliflo.

And knowing the right questions to ask a potential advisor is key to selecting the right advisor, Michael Garry, founder and CEO of Yardley Wealth Management.

Counselors, on the other hand, may be keen to help adults find professional help.

How to grow their business is precisely the kind of advice many advisors are hoping to hear when they attend the 34th Annual Morningstar Investing Conference. MICUS begins May 16 in Chicago. The industry meeting is largely aimed at advisors.

This year’s MICUS and last year’s were hybrids, conducted in person as well as digitally. The 2020 the morning star (MORN) was digital only. According to Morningstar, in-person attendance for this year’s rally was 48% higher than last year last week. In-person attendance is expected to be twice as many as digital attendance.

Financial advisor: how to find one

As financial advisors are ready and willing to help more clients, it is up to potential clients to ask to contact and shop for an advisor. They are the ones with strengths that can be expanded with professional guidance. They are the ones who have estates that can be protected by the insight of advisers.

Leading Advisors suggest seven questions prospects should ask potential Advisors when looking for an Advisor.

follow the money

How are you, the advisor, making money with me as a client? “If you know how a financial adviser will be paid, you know if the adviser’s advice will be biased,” Garry said.

Garry is referring to whether an advisor earns a commission on the sale of products, or rather a commission on assets under management or a fee for their time or a specific product such as writing a financial plan.

Generally, a financial advisor who earns commissions does not act as a fiduciary.

Trustees are obligated to do what’s in your best interest, even if it means they make less money. A non-trustee only has to do what’s right for you, not necessarily what’s right for you. “Whether someone is a fiduciary or not, there is always the potential for conflicts of interest,” said Andy Kapyrin, co-chief investment officer of RegentAtlantic. “Knowing how someone makes money helps you understand potential conflicts.”

What are the advisor’s qualifications? Not all credentials are the same. Some may be more relevant to your situation than others. “Look for someone whose skills match your needs and situation,” Garry said.

Who would you work with?

Who would be my primary contact within the consulting firm? Is this the person you are interviewing? Or is he just a salesman, but not the person who prepares the plans and advises? If the person you are interviewing is not your contact person, meet with them to see if you are comfortable with them.

How long has the advisor worked? It depends on the experience of a financial advisor. If you’re younger, it’s also important to know if they’ll be around long enough to support you through your accumulation years as well as your retirement and estate planning years.

Who is the advisor’s typical client? You need someone experienced with clients like you. “If you’re a senior executive at a publicly traded company, you have different issues than most people, including compensation,” Kapyrin said. “Your advisor should have experience with your issues.”

Do you like my wallet? You’re actually asking the financial advisor what the tax consequences would be if they became their client. This is important if you’ve built a portfolio that includes stocks the advisor doesn’t like. If he wanted you to sell stocks or funds you’ve owned for years, you could be hit with a big capital gains bill. “Do you want this? Can the advisor justify it? Kapyrin asked.

What types of investments would you refer me to? “There’s no better way to build a portfolio,” Kapyrin said. “Make sure you understand what the financial advisor would put in your portfolio. And make sure you’re comfortable with that.”

Financial advisor background check

In addition to asking questions of a financial advisor, you should research any advisor you’re considering at BrokerCheck, Kapyrin says. The site offers an overview of a broker’s employment history, regulatory actions, and information on investment-related licensing, arbitrations, and complaints.

It is managed by Finra, a self-regulatory body for the brokerage industry.

Similar information about investment advisers (RIAs) registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is available on the government disclosure website. Smaller advisers, such as those with less than $25 million in assets under management, register with states instead.

Follow Paul Katzeff on Twitter at @IBD_PKatzeff for advice on personal finance and top mutual fund strategies.


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