Guidelines for Investors in Selecting a New Advisor
Here are a number of questions that you should review with any new advisor you are looking to have manage your account.
1. Tell me about yourself? How long have you been a financial advisor?
2. What did you do before you became a financial advisor? What made you decide to pursue this as a career?
3. What kind of qualifications do you have? Tell me more about those qualifications. What do you typically do to each year to stay current?
4. Tell me about the firm you work with? What attracted you to this firm?
Fit and Chemistry
5. We all have preferences in the people we work with. What’s the most important thing you look for in a new client? Describe the kind of client you find you work with best?
6. What’s the average asset level of your clients? How many client households do you work with and where would my portfolio fit in?
7. Tell me about the last couple of clients who left you and took their account elsewhere. Have you had any client complaints to your firm?
8. Do you typically complete financial plans for clients like me? What would be covered in this plan? What would the process be to develop this plan?
9. I know that some advisors put their primary focus on getting the investment process right while some others also get into issues like insurance, tax planning, estate planning issues and retirement planning. Where do you fall on this spectrum?
Investment Philosophy and Your Portfolio
10. What’s your investment philosophy and process? In your experience, how is this different from other advisors?
11. What kind of changes would you recommend in my current portfolio? Tell me more about your reasoning for these changes. Which of my current holdings would you suggest we retain?
12. I know that some financial advisors build portfolios of stocks and bonds for clients themselves, some delegate this to money managers and some do a combination of the two. Tell me about your approach to this.
13. How do you go about building portfolios? To what extent do you rely on research from your firm or outside parties in selecting stocks and money managers.? How do you go about monitoring portfolios or money managers?
14. I understand that there are two schools of thought about trying to get in and out of the stock market. I know some advisors are fairly proactive about moving parts of portfolios to cash if they think the market is poised for a correction, while others believe you can’t effectively time when to get in and out and tend to be fully invested all the time. Where do you stand on this issue?
15. How often do you typically meet with clients like me? How long do those meetings last? What do you cover in those meetings?
16. How have you been communicating with clients like me since last year? What have you been doing differently as a result of the market events due to Covid?
17. How frequently do you call clients like me between meetings? How long does it typically take to return calls from your clients?
18. In ballpark terms, what would my annual fee be if we worked together, including fees charged by money managers?
19. How are you paid? What kind of money would you earn on my account annually? What would I get for that?
20. Tell me about the team that you have supporting you.
21. Would you be my primary contact or would I be dealing with one of them day to day? What kinds of issues would I be talking to them about as opposed to you?
The Last 12 Months
22. How did you position client portfolios like mine going into the beginning of last year?
23. What kinds of changes have you recommended to clients since last year?
24. Without getting into the actual dollar amounts, in general terms would you be willing to share what you held in your own portfolio going into last fall and what your own portfolio looks like today?
25. In your opinion, what are the most important lessons you’ve learned as a result of the events of the past year?
Contact us if you have any questions.