Have you ever taken your car to the shop for something minor, like a routine oil change, and walked away with a laundry list of things that desperately need fixing before your vehicle falls apart? If you’re not knowledgeable on the mechanics of your car, that lengthy list can feel overwhelming and may even include unnecessary repairs. Often, meeting with a new financial consultant can feel much the same, particularly if the wealth management firm you visited has a commission-based pay structure. You may leave the meeting with a sense of doom, not knowing what your next step should be but doubting your own reluctance to pay high fees.
We understand. To reduce the stress of finding a new wealth management advisor, Alpha Fiduciary has developed this list of helpful questions to ask any prospective financial advisory firm before agreeing to their services:
- What services are offered?
At Alpha Fiduciary, we know there are many factors that can impact your finances beyond what investments you hold. For example, health care planning is every bit as important as your portfolio. But you don’t necessarily need every service a firm offers. The firm you use should know how to integrate financial planning with investment management in a way that is customized to your situation. If you can be clear on your needs before going to the meeting, you can better limit the services you pay for as well as weigh the value of what you are receiving.
- What sort of reports and updates are provided?
You need a way to monitor your investment advisor’s performance, and it needs to be clear and easy to understand. If your advisor uses reporting that feels “home made,” or otherwise gives you the sense of being sloppy, you may wish to look elsewhere. Alpha Fiduciary strives for transparency in our reporting and recommendations. In addition to quarterly reports and investment newsletters, we offer ad hoc reports anytime you like, and you can even review your portfolio anywhere you go on a tablet or mobile device using our handy app.
- How often will you be in contact?
Sometimes clients of investment advisors feel like orphaned children once they have signed on because the advisor doesn’t respond promptly. Alpha Fiduciary advisors are always just a phone call or email away during normal hours. We make it a point to take our new clients through a meaningful “discovery process” so we can better understand their situation. We also conduct progress check-in meetings regularly.
- How are you compensated?
Alpha Fiduciary does not earn commissions on any products it recommends. We act with honesty and integrity, so we will never pressure you into anything for the sake of commission. Our goal is to provide you with the best possible financial advice, and if there is a service you would benefit from that we don’t provide, we’ll happily refer you to an appropriate professional.
At Alpha Fiduciary, your success is our priority. The above questions are only a few of the many we would recommend, but they can give you a clearer understanding of the company through which you are planning to invest your funds and your future. For some additional questions to ask, look up the CFA Institute publication entitled “What Every Investor Should Know.” Or contact us for a deeper discussion.