By ANNE TERGESEN
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the ranks of independent financial advisers have grown, as investors have left Wall Street in search of more objective guidance.
The crisis bred "a certain level of distrust of Wall Street brokerage firms," says Bing Waldert, a director at Boston-based research firm Cerulli Associates. "Independents," he adds, "have been the chief beneficiaries."
Questions to Ask a Financial Adviser
To find a good fit, interview and evaluate several candidates. Be sure to ask the following questions:
What experience do you have, especially with people in my circumstances?
Where did you go to school?
What is your employment history?
What licenses do you hold?
Are you registered with the SEC, a state, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)?
What products and services do you offer?
Can you recommend only a limited number ofproducts or services to me? If so, why?
How are you paid for your services?
What is your usual hourly rate, flat fee or commission? Please estimate the possible costs I will pay based on the work to be performed.
Have you ever been disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career or been sued by a client?
For registered investment advisers (RIAs), will you send me a copy of both parts of your ADV registration form?
Will I deal only with you or with others at your firm?
Do you have a conflict of interest I should know about?
Sources: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Securities and Exchange Commission