While breaking up with your financial advisor may not have all the legal complications of ending a marriage, it can be an agonizing decision to make. Especially if you’ve been in a long-term relationship with your financial advisor and you’ve discovered he or she has not really had your best interests at heart.
According to a recent survey by Spectrem Group, 4 to 6% of U.S. investors change financial advisors in any given year. A variety of reasons are attributed to the ending of these relationships. High on the list are major life events such as death, divorce or inheritance, as well as lack of communication and frustration with complex or hidden fees.
If you inherited your financial advisor, the good news is you can now shop around for your very own. Finding a financial advisor you trust may take more time than you’d like and there is a lot of paperwork involved, however getting the right one could save you thousands of dollars, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The questions below are provided to help guide you to a relationship with a financial advisor that could last a lifetime. Whether you are breaking up or making up, keep them with you when you are interviewing prospective advisors or considering keeping the one you have.
1. Are you willing and able to act as fiduciary?
2. Who is your typical client?
3. How often will we communicate and who will initiate it?
4. Do you see any conflicts of interest?
5. How are fees disclosed and what are they?
6. Discuss their FINRA and/or SEC record with me
7. What happens to me if something happens to you?
8. What specific licenses do you hold?
Pay attention to whether the advisor you’re interviewing is listening or selling. Unless you’ve asked about something specific, if product is the primary topic discussed you most likely need to look elsewhere. Make sure you like the advisor and feel comfortable with him or her. It would be difficult to discuss such an intimate topic as finances with someone you don’t genuinely feel comfortable with. Bottom line, if you are not comfortable with your current financial advisor or with one you are interviewing, don’t be afraid to walk away and keep looking until you find the perfect match.
Forest Hills Financial Inc.