Working with an Investment Professional

Dan Finnerty |
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When choosing an investment professional, the value you receive is based on the quality of your relationship and their ability to meet, or even exceed, your expectations. Many people don’t mind paying for investment guidance, nor expect a professional to perform superhuman feats with their portfolios, but they do expect a commitment to service that includes frequent communication, transparency, and personalized guidance. To get the most value from your investment professional, you need to explain your expectations and agree on how you will work together.

Ideally, you should be able to book an initial consultation with an investment professional to learn more about their background, experience, and philosophy. Be clear about what you expect, and ask questions. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask how they choose their investment strategies, products, and solutions. Some professionals will shop around based on clients’ needs, whereas others have access to a smaller number of proprietary products.
  • Ask them what their investment principles are and how they were founded. Do they follow theory and data, or use their own experience?
  • When it comes to payment, see if they are fee-only, commission-based, or a hybrid of the two. Depending on your needs and potential assets under management, you may prefer one fee structure over another.
  • If you’re looking for an investment professional that puts their client's needs ahead of their own, ask if they follow a fiduciary standard. See if they have their policy in writing.
  • Are you looking for someone who’s highly responsive? See what their communication strategy is like. Do they follow up frequently? Are you able to reach them at any time if you have a question? Do they ask that you can commit to a certain number of meetings per year?
  • Do you want access to a broad range of expertise and resources? Ask if they have a network of other professionals that they consult with or recommend. Some investment professionals may be able to connect you to tax, insurance, estate, or business professionals if you need them.
  • Check their professional credentials. How long have they been in their field, and what’s their professional background? What is their current level of education, and are they continuing their education? Do they have any additional designations?

Some of the investment professionals you meet may not meet your needs, which is why it’s important to have an initial consultation. Setting the tone for a working relationship with an investment professional is a critical first step, so ask as many questions as you can. Give us a call if you’d like to learn more about our process and see if we could be a good fit for you.
 


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