10 Things to Consider before Selecting a Wealth Manager or Financial Analyst – By George Mentz, Esq.Posted July 17th, 2012
1. Experience – Make sure your advisor has a track record of success.
2. Accredited Education (Level 2) Preferred – Make sure your advisor has an education from a program that is accredited. Also, if the advisor has a degree or diploma from a Level 2 institution that has both regional accreditation and business accreditation, that is the best. You may want to ask your advisor if he or she has earned a business degree from an ACBSP or AACSB accredited program. See www.ACBSP.org
3. Licenses – Are they licensed with the SEC or FINRA and do they have a record of good standing.
4. Government Professional License – Are they a lawyer or CPA. If so, check with the state bar association or AICPA to make sure they have a solid record.
5. Regulatory and Product Knowledge – Make sure your advisor has the ability to recommend a broad array of solutions for your wealth preservation and growth.
6. Qualifications – See if your advisor is a member of a prestigious body such as the CWM ® Chartered Wealth Manager Institute. Ask if they are board certified as an: Accredited Financial Analyst ® or Chartered Wealth Manger ®. Also, if they have a law degree and license or CPA, then they may also be competent to provide advice on tax law and estate planning.
7. Value and Compensation – How will your advisor earn income from you? Make sure they get paid for their work, but it may be best to make sure they are not double dipping. Some advisors will charge a fee for advice and then also invest you in a product that also has fees. With the ease of use of ETF Exchange Traded Funds, make sure your advisor is providing added value.
8. Wealth Team – Does the wealth manager have a group or team to help you in the areas of: Investing, Wealth Preservation, Risk and Insurance, Trusts, Legal, Retirement and Tax. Ask if they have names of people they have worked with successfully.
9. Customer Regulations – Be sure to let your advisor know what your objectives are. Make sure they understand your 1) suitability, 2) risk tolerance, and 3) time horizon. Ask the wealth manager to explain each of these to you in detail.
10. Policy Statement – Make sure your wealth manager provides you with an IPS Investment Policy Statement that outlines what they will do for you and the limitations involved.
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