Trying to decide on a financial adviser is a huge undertaking. You need to make sure that you find one who can work with your style and who has your best interests in mind. Unfortunately, there are some that are only out for their own financial gain, which can harm your finances.
There are many things that you can look into when you try to find a new adviser. One of these is the disclosures that they should provide. The firm they work for should release details about the fee schedule, company background, adviser conduct and services offered. This general information is a good start, but you will need to dig deeper.
Financial advisers must disclose any personal disciplinary, criminal or regulatory actions that they have on their records. This information should also be disclosed for the firm as a whole. The Form ADV documents several key points of information about these matters. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) maintains a registry for this form. You can ask for it directly from the firm or you can check the SEC’s Investment Adviser Search.
Financial advisers who don’t have any negative marks in their past won’t have a disclosure to provide to you. Whether they have one or not, you should feel free to ask questions about matters about which you are curious. Remember, this person is going to be tasked with overseeing your finances. You can’t be too safe.
If you find out that your adviser didn’t make proper disclosures and you suffer a financial loss, you should explore your options for the actions you may need to take.