Topics to cover when interviewing financial advisors

Published 12:17 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Investors put a lot of faith in their financial advisors. Many professionals work hard to save up enough money to invest so they can secure their financial futures. Handing that hard-earned money to a financial advisor can be nerve-wracking. But prospective investors can calm their nerves by discussing certain topics with planners before deciding to work with them.


People new to investing will no doubt find some financial jargon confusing. Fiduciary is one term that novice investors may be unfamiliar with. A fiduciary is a financial professional who must place clients’ interests ahead of his or her own. Fiduciaries also must disclose any existing or potential conflicts of interest that might affect clients’ willingness to work with them. That includes how they earn their money. Non-fiduciaries have no such responsibility, so they can sell clients a particular investment without having to tell clients how their own compensation is affected by that sale.

Some fiduciaries work for specific funds that only allow them to sell those particular funds’ proprietary products. That’s the case even if they believe there are other investments that are better for given clients. Such arrangements must be shared with clients for advisors to maintain their fiduciary status. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards’ “Rules of Conduct” can be found at


Fees should be discussed before signing an agreement with a financial advisor. Ask each advisor you interview how they earn their money. Some might charge clients a percentage of the assets they’re managing while others may earn money by selling you specific products. Investors have a right, and an obligation to themselves, to understand how financial advisors they work with will earn money. That’s smart investing and can help investors sleep easy knowing their advisors have put clients’ interests first.


Financial advisors offer different services. Some might only suggest investments, while others may help clients come up with comprehensive financial plans that focus on short- and long-term goals. Some investors may only want suggestions, while others may need more from their advisors. Determine which type of investor you are and then find the right advisor for you.


Investors, particularly those without much experience, might be comfortable knowing they can contact their financial advisors as often as they’d like. Some advisors are more accessible than others, so discuss access with advisors before signing any agreements, and determine if you’re comfortable meeting just once a year to go over things or if you want more routine check-ins.

Financial advisors help millions of people across the globe secure their financial futures. Discussing various topics and strategies with prospective advisors is a great way for investors to find the right individual for them.