Selecting Investment Professionals
When you need financial help, you can turn to an investment professional or team of professionals. These professionals may be brokers, investment advisers, certified public accountants, lawyers, insurance agents, or financial planners—and they may work in many different settings, from large firms to small private practices. In some cases, your bank may have a separate investment department that employs investment professionals.
The person or team of professionals you decide to work with will depend largely on the type of financial help you need and the types of investments you want to have in your portfolio. Those needs, and so the professionals you work with, are likely to change during your lifetime along with the amount of money you have to invest and the financial goals that are important to you. What doesn't change, though, is the need to know how and where to find the help you need.
Before you hire an investment professional, there are some steps you should take. First, you'll want to identify your financial needs so that you'll know what kind of help to get. Next, learn about the different types of investment professionals that are available and what they offer. Then, you'll search for possible candidates and check their work background and disciplinary history. Before coming to any decision, you'll ideally want to interview your candidates face-to-face and ask them about the fees they charge. Finally, make sure you read and understand any paperwork you are asked to fill out or sign.