The following brief checklists were composed as a supplement to our Value of Advice From A Financial Coach post – nothing elaborate, but a good starting point to consider when searching for your own Financial Coach.
Interview Your Financial Coach
- What is your educational background? (confirm the advisor’s postsecondary degree, dates of attendance and graduation by calling the university or college’s Registrar’s office)
- What are your financial planning credentials? (Call the organization that grants the designations)
- How long have you been in this business?
- Have you ever been cited by a professional or regulatory governing body for disciplinary reasons? (Google, “financial advisor background check canada”)
- Will you work with me personally, or will you delegate to an associate?
- How often will I receive statements?
- How is your firm compensated and how is compensation calculated?
- Are there financial incentives for you to recommend certain products?
- Do you provide a comprehensive written analysis of my financial situation and recommendations?
- Do you offer ongoing guidance with respect to my financial affairs, including advice on non-investment-related financial issues?
- Do you take custody of, or have access to, my assets?
- How many times a year will we meet?
- Ask for a list of clients who are willing to provide references, and follow-up with them
Questions to ask when your advisor recommends an investment
- Why are you recommending this investment?
- What is the performance record of this investment?
- What are the risks?
- How does this meet my investment objectives?
- Will it alter my asset allocation?
- How will this help me reach my goals?
- Are there other choices that would help me reach my goals?
- What will it cost me now, and in the future?
- Are you receiving fees for the sale of this product? How much will you be compensated?
- When can I get my money back out? What if I need it sooner or change my mind?
Questions to ask the advisor’s current clients:
- How long have you been working with this financial advisor?
- What would you say are this advisor’s strengths and weaknesses?
- How often do you hear from your advisor?
- Are your calls or emails returned promptly?
- What do you appreciate most about your relationship with this advisor?
- Do you have any reservations about recommending your advisor?
- How would you rate the services you have received: excellent, satisfactory or less than satisfactory?
Finally, we thought the following slides would be a good contribution to your search for a professional advisor. Although it is an American company, the questions leave little room for pretense and will give you a solid idea of how you should go about your own search. Remember… you’re looking for someone who will take you seriously regardless of how much money you have to work with.