If you’re searching for a financial advisor, you may have already identified some financial concerns you want to address. It’s important to identify specific concerns before setting goals or identifying solutions.
An advisor can help with these tasks. But, first, who to pick?
Understanding the scope of possible attributes available in an advisor can help you identify characteristics you hadn’t realized are important to you – and lead to the best choice of advisor for you.
Selecting Important Attributes
Just as you would approach any important decision, it helps to first gain a full understanding of your preferences. Some may be more obvious than others.
To help, we created a checklist of 18 advisor attributes with a scoring system. Score the checklist to identify the attributes you find important. When narrowing your list, focus on the attributes you have ranked as 4s or 5s (important to very important).
Which attributes are more important? It depends on you. While you may emphasize an advisor’s education, someone else may place a higher value on a team approach.
Three Areas of Focus
While preferred attributes in a financial advisor are highly personal, some warrant closer attention. Based on my over 30 years of experience, here are three key areas of focus:
1) Objective Advice – Avoiding conflicts of interest between your needs and how the advisor is compensated has a significant impact on the quality of advice received. Additionally, alignment between your needs and advisor compensation will keep the advisor motivated and serving you well. For example, if you are buying insurance from an advisor compensated primarily based on the amount of money they manage, there is a lack of alignment. The advisor will not be motivated to service your insurance needs as their financial incentive is elsewhere.
2) Experience – It’s probably obvious but, as with many things in life, experience counts. As Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” That’s why we recommend a minimum of eight years of advisory experience.
3) Introductions to best-in-class advisors - This is particularly important for a high net worth person. If an advisor facilitates meetings with other expert advisors, it sends a message they are focused on the client’s best interests. Rather than pretending to have all the answers or seeking to control you, an advisor that introduces you to other best-in-class advisors has their ego in check. Even better? The advisor recommends a joint meeting with your other advisors.
Find Your Match
Use our Advisor Attributes checklist to identify what characteristics in an advisor are important to you. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be ready to interview financial advisors and select the ideal advisor to help you build and preserve your wealth.