Finding the right investment adviser is like achieving the perfect fit of a custom-tailored suit. Local experts share advice on selecting the best adviser for your financial lifestyle—whether the ever-fluctuating market is down in the dumps or flying high.
Maurice Quiroga, PNC Wealth Management
• Think like an employer. Request references from advisers’ past employers, find out details about their skill set, and research their work history, designations and client disputes on finra.org.
• Understand how they get paid. Some receive commission on certain items: Be wary of those who shy away from answering questions in a transparent way about how they get paid, be concerned about those who charge more than 1.5 to 2 percent of your assets for fees, and ask for a formal outline of services and fees.
• Investigate the firm. Clients benefit from the strength and stability of bigger firms that help deliver more solutions, better pricing and better risk management.
• Keep your best interest in mind. Find out whether advisers are going to be taking a fiduciary responsibility in which they are legally bound to act in your best interest—some are just required to offer you products deemed suitable for you, and that may not always be in your best interest.
• Be cautious. While referrals from friends may seem like a good idea, often it is not the best strategy because every person’s financial needs are different.
Thomas Cordes, UBS Financial Services Inc.
• Put in the time. First, determine if you need an investment adviser: If you can’t devote a few hours per week to your financial life, let emotions get the best of you during investment decisions, or don’t trust yourself with the wealth you have accumulated, then you may benefit from hiring an adviser.
• Find the right fit. Ask the adviser about the age and assets of the clients he or she serves: You want someone who deals with your size of investments—you don’t want to be their biggest client or their smallest account.
• Perform a background check. Analyze the adviser’s designations to find out who will be right for you.
• Follow the money trail. Ask about the fees you will pay the adviser, as well as the underlying investment fees, and make sure they are reasonable in the realm of someone with your asset level.
Lindsey Kerber, Renaissance Financial
• Keep up with the times. An adviser should be knowledgeable about the changing financial environment.
• Walk the talk. You want an adviser who provides timely responses to emails and voicemails every day.
• Expand your options. Find an adviser who can offer a variety of different investments and platforms, and works with different insurance companies.
• Rely on a team effort. Because there are many facets important to your finances, you want a firm that offers specialists in different areas: No one person can be an expert in each area of financial planning, but they can call on others to help.
• Custom-map your financial future. Find an adviser who doesn’t have cookie-cutter recommendations—no clients are alike, so an adviser should have the ability to plan for each individual.