We believe that institutions and individuals providing financial advice and asset management are often conflicted or deficient in ways that predictably lead to problems for their clients, ranging from simple dissatisfaction to unethical behavior.

To assist in identifying potential problems in advance, we offer some questions we would ask financial advisors (including us) if the roles were reversed.

  • Have you ever been personally disciplined by an industry regulator?
  • Are you and your firm a fiduciary to me at all times?
  • Do you personally receive any compensation due to trading activity or products selected for my accounts?
  • Do the owners of your firm spend substantial time working directly with clients?
  • Does your firm receive any compensation from the managers of any investment option on your approved list?
  • Do investment firms have to pay to get on your approved list?
  • How does your firm get paid? How do you get paid?
  • How many relationships do you personally manage?
  • What percentage of those relationships invest more than $5 million dollars with you?
  • Have you personally worked in any institutional investment capacity, such as part of a research team or had direct investment responsibility for a strategy or mutual fund?
  • If you’re giving investment advice, have you obtained a CFA® designation? If not, why?
  • If you’re giving financial advice, have you obtained a CFP® designation? If not, why?
  • How do you think about taxes in your investment philosophy?
  • Will my portfolio be invested identically to any others at your firm?
  • What aspects of my relationship can I see on my mobile device?
  • Who can I talk to about what it’s like to work with you?