What to expect from your advisor with the investor protection rule in limbo

Personal Finance

You are your own best advocate when it comes to choosing an advisor. Consider the following questions when you’re seeking a professional to oversee your retirement savings.

Are you a fiduciary? Find out immediately if your advisor is acting in your best interest. Get the point across with this fiduciary oath from the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard. It’s best to ask this question in writing.

How are you paid for your services? Ask whether you’re paying a fee for your advisor’s help, be it hourly, as part of a subscription or based on assets he or she manages for you. Find out whether your advisor receives a commission for the sale of mutual funds, insurance and annuities.

Where do you keep your assets? Some large broker-dealer firms will hold your assets in custody because you have a brokerage account with them. If you’re using an independent fee-only advisor, he or she will likely hold your assets at a custodian, such as TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab or Fidelity.

What are your qualifications? There’s an alphabet soup of different designations for financial advisors, but keep an eye out for the best-known credentials: certified financial planner, chartered financial analyst and certified public accountant. Though each of these designations correspond to different specialties, all three require study and practical experience.

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