Most investors won’t buy a stock or mutual fund without doing some level of analysis or research beforehand. Yet, surprisingly, there are those who will follow the advice of a financial planner, insurance agent or other money professional without doing some type of background check.
In a recent AdviceIQ article, Sterling Raskie offers some suggestions on how you can go about verifying the background of a professional offering financial advice.
He suggests starting with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck service. There you can find a financial advisor’s history, record and possible affiliations with other companies.
If the advisor has a professional designation–certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial consultant (ChFC), chartered life underwriter (CLU), etc.–verify that the credentials are bonafide. For example, check with the CFP Board for that designation or Designation Check for the ChFC and CLU.
You can also check the backgrounds of fee-only advisors on the site of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
AAII also has resources for investors looking to learn about their financial advisor or broker:
- How to Check Out a Financial Advisor
- How to Check Out a Broker On-Line
- Tougher for Brokers to Remove Complaints from BrokerCheck
These articles are only a few examples of the many benefits of AAII membership. To learn more, consider a risk-free 30-day Trial AAII Membership to start becoming an effective manager of your own assets.