Selecting an Advisory Firm
When you decide to work with a financial advisor, finding the right advisory firm is important. While there is no perfect selection process, it is important to consider the following:
The Right Experience. We believe it is important to find a firm with experience serving clients in situations similar to yours. Advisory firms often do much more than handle your investments. Experience in retirement and estate planning, cash flow management and tax planning are also important.
Transparent Fee Structure. An advisory firm should be able to clearly explain exactly how they are paid. The most common forms of compensation are specific fees for services, flat fee, an hourly rate, a percentage of your assets managed by the firm, and commissions.
Industry Credentials. There are many certifications and designations that can be earned by financial service professionals. The following are most common:
- CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)- has to complete 18 to 24 months of study, pass a rigorous ten-hour exam and work for three years as a financial planner before earning their designation.
- ChFC® (Chartered Financial Consultant) – has to pass three six-hour exams and have four years of qualifying work experience to earn the title.
- CLU® (Chartered Life Underwriter) – one of the oldest and most respected credentials in financial services dating back to the late 1920s. It represents a thorough understanding of a broad array of personal risk management and life insurance planning issues, as well as comprehensive estate planning.
Selecting an advisor that has earned industry designations does not provide guarantees, but it does assure you that the advisor has received specialized training and must undergo continuing education.
Good References. We recommend talking with an advisor’s current clients about their experience with an advisor you are considering.
Access Financial Services, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA).