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Questions to ask during Financial Advisor interviews

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Plenty of stuff out there on this topic but wanted to get some real world advice here. I will be meeting with 5-6 people in the coming weeks with the hopes of finding one to serve in what I would term a broad advisory role; investment and tax advice being first and foremost. The person will manage assets.

I'm specifically interested in asking the right questions to see what kind of track record the person has. Being in business for a long time, alphabet soup acronyms, etc. doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot.

Thanks in advance...
Edited by bigbadbuff - 1/7/13 at 1:06pm
post #2 of 5
Can't say I have much to contribute to this yet, but I'm subscribing because I'm thinking about hiring someone in a similar role.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've got a list of surface questions going, might as well share to get this conversation going. Some of this you can find by Googling potential advisors.

  • What are you financial planning credentials/designations/affiliations (CFP?) Are you personally licensed or registered as an investment advisor with the state. How about the firm.
  • What is your area of speciality, what services do you offer
  • Type of client/situation you routinely deal with/target
  • Are you a registered investment advisor, are you a licensed insurance agent with someone; do you have a biz affiliation with any company whose products you are recommending
  • How are you compensated
  • Minimums for assets, account size, annual fees
  • Do you provide a thorough written analysis of financial situation/recommendations
  • To what extent are you yourself involved in the development/execution of my plan... if not you then who
  • Will the costs associated with transactional/custodial fees, trading costs, etc. be passed along to me
  • How many clients do you currently have and how do you 'group' them?
  • Affiliation with a broker/dealer
post #4 of 5
Hard to give more specific advice as a lot depends on one's individual situation but my main goal would be to go with fee only advisor; someone who bills you per hour or per project (like a portfolio review for example) as opposed to someone who takes a percentage of your AUM. Plus, fee-only folks are not in conflict of interest while the rest is trying to, supposedly, promote your interest while the're trying to sell their own product to you... Unless you need someone to really actively manage your portfolio (and I mean more than an annual sell/buy event to realize capital loss for tax purposes for example) or you are completely unfamiliar with basic investing, there's no good reason to pay a lot of money for dubious assitance.
post #5 of 5
Do yourself a favor and run your list of potentials through brokercheck at

It gives you background history of the reps including reasons they may have gotten fired, whether they have a bunch of complaints, etc.

This, when combined with your in person interviews should give you a good idea about the person's character.
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