If you’ve decided that you need professional assistance with your personal wealth management, this guide can help you. Whether you’re looking for one-time assistance with a specific need or a long-term relationship that lasts generations, you should find this information valuable.
Our firm receives hundreds of inquiries from people like you who are looking for a wealth manager or financial advisor to help address their financial concerns. We find most people are unsure about how to find an advisor who will best meet their needs. We want to provide you with the knowledge you need to be in control of the process. Most importantly, our goal is to increase the odds that you find an advisor that meets or exceeds your expectations.
We recommend the following eight-step process to find your ideal wealth manager:
1. Understand completely and clearly the type of help you seek
2. Determine the qualities (age, gender, experience, etc.) you want in an advisor
3. Understand clearly the type of relationship you want with an advisor
4.Determine how best to compensate an advisor for the services you need
5. Identify several advisors who may be a good match for your needs
6. Find and use research tools to obtain detailed information about advisors
7. Prepare for and conduct productive interviews with wealth managers
8. Choose your ideal wealth manager
At first glance this process may seem time consuming and labor intensive, but that’s not necessarily the case. We provide succinct information, easy-to-complete worksheets, and links to helpful tools.The time commitment is really dependent on how deep you want to dive into each area. Given what’s at stake – the health of your wealth – isn’t it worth your time?
Let’s get started.
Step #1: Understand completely and clearly the type of help you seek
Finding your ideal wealth manager is like many other important endeavors: The better you understand what you’re looking for, the better the chance you will find it. We’ve observed that most people who contact us have a general understanding of the help they need, but unrecognized needs often emerge later.
The best way to have a comprehensive understanding of your needs so you can approach finding an advisor with confidence is to review a list of typical wealth management concerns and rank their importance to you.
Step #2. Determine the qualities (age, gender, experience, etc.) you want in an advisor
Working with a wealth manager who possesses the qualities you deem important builds trust and confidence, two critical components in a successful relationship. Our list of attributes can help you to evaluate and rank what's most important to you during this step of the process, allowing you to quickly eliminate advisors who aren’t a good fit and focus on the few who may be worth a closer look.
Step #3. Understand clearly the type of relationship you want with an advisor
Having clarity about the type of relationship you want with an advisor helps
increase the odds of finding your ideal advisor. It will save you time and reduce
frustrations while conducting your search.
We recommend focusing on four specific relationship areas: length of the relationship (one-time engagement or long term), frequency of interaction, service approach, and who implements recommendations (you or the advisor). To help, we developed a worksheet that maps out the four areas and things to consider about each before committing to work with an advisor.
The financial services industry makes a big deal about advisor compensation, and rightly so. Compensation significantly influences advisor behavior, and thus influences your experience – positively and negative – with an advisor. Your goal should be to find an advisor whose compensation motivates them to do their best possible work. Our Advisor Compensation Guide summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of different compensation models and describes situations where you may or may not want to work with an advisor based on their compensation.
Step #5. Identify several advisors who may be a good match for your needs
There are two ways to find advisors that may be right for you and your needs: through your personal contacts or through an internet search. Shared values and life experiences may make family and friends valuable referral sources, and other advisors can also help. Multiple websites offer lists of wealth managers in different categories depending on your needs. We outline these and other helpful resources to help you get started.
Step #6. Find and use research tools to obtain detailed information about advisors
You’ve identified a handful of wealth managers that may be a match. Now you need to do research to learn more and determine if they’re worth contacting. We recommend using this four-step process to learn more about the advisors on your list. Your research will arm you with good questions to ask should you decide to take the next step and learn more about the advisor.
Step #7. Prepare for and conduct productive interviews with wealth managers
Your hard work in this process has put you in a position of strength. Now, you need to identify the few advisors/wealth managers that meet your criteria. We recommend reading our Guide to Interviewing a Wealth Manager, which contains 25 “must ask” questions that can give you confidence in understanding how an advisor works with clients and deciding if they are a good fit for your needs.
Step #8: Choose your ideal wealth manager
Now that you understand the qualities you want in an advisor and have researched and interviewed a few advisors that may potentially be a good fit, you are ready make a decision. Our Guide to Deciding Between Wealth Managers can help. The guide focuses on key criteria that determine a successful relationship with a wealth manager. Using it, you can rank your finalists and pick your ideal wealth manager.