Financial advisors are easy to find. They may wear a tie, have a nice haircut, and wear a suit. In other words, they’re everywhere! But how do you know if an advisor is right for you?
The questions you need to ask about an advisor focus on two simple but important topics:
Let’s break it down. When we say “what they can do,” we mean what they are legally licensed to do. There are various exams advisors must take to earn a series of licenses listed below that dictate what kind of business they can do.
|License(s):||What They Can Do:|
|Series 6||Enabled to sell packaged securities (mutual funds & variable annuities), but not individual stocks or bonds.|
|Series 7||Enabled to sell nearly every type of investment product, including stocks, bonds, options, and futures|
|Series 63||Required in every state, along with Series 6 or 7, for advisors to do business|
|Series 65||Required only for advisors compensated with fees, as opposed to commission|
When determining what an advisor can do, you need to find out what licenses they hold and where they work. This will help you determine what they can do for you.
Next, you need to know their intentions. There are brokers who earn commission and there are advisors who earn fees. Financial advisors work under the fiduciary standard, which means they are required to act on behalf of their clients rather than themselves. The standard is set in place to help clients feel more comfortable entrusting advisors with their assets and uphold the advisor to a high moral standard.
Choosing an advisor to entrust with your assets is a big decision. Before you make the decision, learn all you can about what they can and can’t do for you. Find someone who will work in your best interest to develop your financial future. It’s your money and you are in control.