How To Check Up on Your Financial Adviser’s Reputation

Finding someone to manage any aspect of your financial assets can be a painstaking process. You don’t want to be flippant about the process with your money and possibly your financial well-being at stake. This is why it’s important to look into the advisers you are considering to make sure that the reputation they claim is indeed true. There are several ways to vet potential advisers.

1. Personal Needs

When you are trying to find someone to help you manage your money or other assets, you don’t want a generic financial professional. You want someone who offers the specific services you need. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself hiring someone who doesn’t specialize in the area in which you are seeking help. The type of service you need not only determines what kind of professional you need to hire but also what their qualifications and certifications should be. This is valuable information to have as you start your search, regardless of the type of financial advising you are looking for. When you know exactly what you need, it is easier to limit your search to those who have a good reputation for the particular financial services you require.

2. Online Reviews

The easiest way to check out the investment advisers you are vetting is to type their names into an internet search engine. When you do so, the adviser’s website is probably going to be one of the top links on the list. This gives you the chance to check out how each firm presents itself to prospective clients. They may even include testimonials from past clients. Don’t stop at their website, though. Such a search is also likely to lead to online reviews of their work. Getting an outside opinion of the quality of their services is key to validating their reputation. This review of Fisher Investments is one example. You can learn about each individual or company’s backstory as well as the services they provide. When past clients review them online, they are likely to be honest and give you the information you need to make an informed decision. You can compare reviews to start the process of determining which company is most likely to be the best fit for your needs.

3. Licensing Validation

The minimum requirement you should have for the financial advisers you choose is that they have the appropriate licensing. Depending on the services they offer, they should be certified by a qualifying agency to do so. For example, if you want an asset manager such as Fisher Investments, you may look for CIMA certification or a CFA designation. The specific services they offer tell you the kind of licenses and certification they need. The Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website allows you to search for investment professionals to confirm that they are licensed. A quick search on this site also can tell you if any formal complaints have been lodged against them or if they’re under investigation for alleged wrongdoing. You can also use Broker Check on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website for feedback from a non-government entity about possible disciplinary events.

Whether you are looking for retirement planning or an independent money manager such as Fisher Investments, it is important to check the accuracy of your financial professional’s reputation. A little diligence on your part when you are beginning your search for someone to manage your assets can save you some headaches later on. You want to make sure that the person or firm you choose offers the services you want, but it’s also vital that they are certified to offer them. Verifying that they have a good service record can give you the peace of mind that they will handle your account with the same care.


Arnel Ariate is the webmaster of Money Soldiers.

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