TRUST means everything in relationships, whether we’re focusing on those in romance, family or finances.
Make that, especially in financial matters, which can be as emotionally draining, destructive and costly as anything else that we experience in our lives. An unscrupulous financial advisor can cause an unsuspecting investor to be badly hurt or even tragically wiped out of a lifetime of hard work and savings.
Today, the question of a financial advisor’s trustworthiness has taken on a heightened importance.
The memory of how New York investment advisorBernard Madoff fleeced so many sophisticated and highly accomplished people still burns bright. And in Ghana, such stories as the Pyram scare and recent BOG clamp down on various Microfinance companies focuses our minds. Plus, there are so many ways today for investors to make – and lose – money.
Further complicating the picture, not every investor has the same needs at the same time.
A young person might eschew the highly conservative notion of capital preservation because he or she will be working and earning money for decades to come. This individual might be much more willing to go into speculative financial instruments than, say, someone nearing retirement age who has doggedly amassed a healthy “nest egg” and primarily wants to preserve it without unnecessary aggravation or risk.
To raise your personal comfort level with an investment advisor, experts suggest checking an advisor's background. Savvy investors ask an advisor questions on these five essential subjects:
Find out what your advisor's core values are. A person of integrity should be capable of reciting his or her values to you. If an advisor keeps trying to sell you a financial service that generates a commission regardless of how well it suits you, this person's values are probably not aligned with yours. An advisor who believes in having a long-term relationship with you – and not merely a series of commission-generating transactions – can be considered trustworthy.
Make sure you understand how the advisor is being compensated for investment advice or transactions, so you aren’t automatically forfeiting a chunk of your nest egg to someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
Level of Expertise
For your own comfort level as a customer, you will want to look at someone’s education, certifications in the business and number of advanced degrees. It is also important to make sure your prospective advisor has not had scrapes with regulatory authorities or negative references in the business media or experienced a history of investigations for misconduct. The key word here is transparency, which contributes to being able to trust someone. You’d prefer to see a level of stability. Has your advisor been committed to the same organization for some time and been in the profession for a long time?
Do you hear from them on a regular basis? This point can be as much of a deal-breaker, ultimately, as anything sordid or even criminal. How annoying and frustrating is it for an investor not to be kept apprised of a news development that could affect his or her portfolio, such as a price change in a stock, a shake-up at a prominent company or an acquisition in an industry that has a bearing on stocks in the customer’s portfolio? The advisor could cost the client money by not keeping him or her apprised of major occurrences.
Will your advisor take the requisite time to explain, methodically and patiently, his or her recommendations? One of the biggest red flags is if you don't understand your investments, especially if your advisor isn't able or willing to explain them when asked. Also, be aware of whether or not they are a fiduciary, which legally requires them to put your interest in front of their own. Shockingly, not all advisors are required to do so. Just because they are a fiduciary doesn't mean you won't get ripped off. But it's a good start.”
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|