Selecting Investment Professionals
Perhaps the best place to start is by talking with your friends, neighbors, relatives, and colleagues—especially those who have some experience as individual investors. Ask the names of the investment professionals they have used, how long they have done business with those individuals, and how much or how little they have relied on their advice. Ask whether they have ever had a problem with any professional you are considering, and if so, how well and how quickly the matter was resolved. Finally, ask about their relationship with their investment professional and assess whether that relationship would work for you. Some people want an investment professional who will take plenty of time to discuss their investments with them while others want someone who provides information when asked and otherwise keeps a low profile.
If you do not know anyone personally who could recommend an investment professional to you, there are other avenues to explore. Your employer, trade organization or labor union, or local consumer or investment groups might be able to provide referrals. In addition, although they typically cannot recommend a particular firm or individual, regulators can be a helpful resource. For example, if you are looking for a securities broker, FINRA's website includes a list of registered firms—or if you are looking for an accountant, your state's Board of Accountancy might be able to help.