At Smith, Salley & Associates, we know that when it comes to choosing an investment advisor, our clients want a firm that can deliver more than standard investment advice. Our clients' situations often demand creativity and thoughtful reflection to design advice that serves both the present situation without sacrificing the future.
If that is not your current experience and you are looking for a new advisor, we have found the best way to evaluate a financial advisor is to take a diagnostic approach and ask a few key questions:
- Do you work for me or for your firm?
(In other words, is your advisor on the same side of the table as you are? Do you know how your advisor is paid? Will the advisor make investment decisions based on my needs or the needs of his firm?)
- Do you have a legally binding fiduciary duty (An obligation to act in my best interest) to me as your client?
(Not all advisors are held to the same standard. At SS&A, we are held to the highest fiduciary standard by Federal Law, a broker at a local or even national firm has different, and we believe inferior, standards.)
- Do you manage my money or do I pay you to hire someone else to manage my money?
(The more intermediaries there are between you and your assets, the more fees you usually pay.)
- What are my fees? Are there any hidden fees that I don’t see, or wouldn’t see, on my statement?
(Do you know what you are actually paying for advice? Do your returns justify the fee?)
If you would like to hear our answers to these questions, or if you would like us to help you in assessing your current situation, give us a call at SS&A, we will be glad to help.