Who can you trust in a pandemic? First, they said masks weren't necessary. Then they said they were mandated. Then they came out with possible treatments. Then those possible treatments were debunked or tossed aside. And why was everybody buying toilet paper? Did these hoarders know something I didn't know? Suffice it to say, it's hard to know who to trust in the age of Covid 19.
And that goes for hiring a new financial planner. While I have talked about hiring an advisor in my blog Sharks vs Dolphins there is one more thing you can do. The brokerage industry has a government-authorized self-regulating organization called FINRA. It stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
FINRA maintains a dossier on financial advisors that are registered as brokers through a broker-dealer. Many financial planners are licensed as both brokers and Investment Advisor Representatives and can be found there. The website is: https://brokercheck.finra.org/
On it, you'll find out the work history of a broker. It will include years in the business and firms they have been associated with (called Broker-Dealers). You'll see what licenses they hold and which states in which they can do business. Finally, you'll see how they are on disclosures, typically negative things that have happened in the broker's career. Keep in mind, not all disclosures mean the advisor did anything wrong. But it's important that there be full transparency with the investing public.
Ultimately, Brokercheck is just one way to do your due diligence on your new Financial Planner. In my opinion there are two questions you need to ask yourself about the financial planner you are interviewing.
- Do you understand his or her philosophy when it comes to providing you with financial advice?
- Does he or she have the heart of a teacher?
The first question is key because if you understand the philosophy and guiding principles the details of your plan will have context. The second question is essential because clarity on financial concepts builds confidence in uncertain times.
The relationship you have with a financial planner should be built to last. Not just for a bull or a bear market but for a lifetime. Want to talk to me about this further, click here.