Enhancing the professionalism of financial advisors in the best interests of the consumer

Your financial future is too important to leave to chance and having a secure financial future brings peace of mind. Financial information has never been more available to consumers. But if you're like most people, you just don't have the time or the inclination to wade through mountains of information on your own to plan your financial future. You need a professional financial advisor.

Questions to ask

Ask about an advisor's level of experience and his or her qualifications with questions like these:

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Are you involved in continuing education?
  • Do you subscribe to a recognized code of professional conduct?
  • Do you have experience dealing with financial situations similar to mine?
  • May I speak with three references who have similar financial goals as mine?

Find an advisor
Finding that advisor is not always simple. You want someone you can trust with private and confidential information about your finances, your goals and your long-term plans. Ideally, you should build a relationship with your advisor.

Trust is the most important quality people look for when choosing an advisor. First and foremost, find a qualified professional who understands your personal and financial situation and who you will feel comfortable working with.

Protect yourself by doing some homework before you approach a financial advisor. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations. Think about your own goals and obligations and visit two or three advisors to see whether you feel comfortable working with them. Ask them hard questions and don't allow yourself to be hurried. Financial planning is a detailed and complicated process. Most advisors will spend approximately 90 minutes with a potential client during the initial interview.

Seek out a Professional
Seek out financial advisors with proven credentials, such as members of Advocis. Designations take time and effort to obtain and two of the most respected are the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). Advocis members must also abide by a strict code of professional conduct to remain in good standing with the Association. They must also complete a prescribed number of hours of continuing education in order to keep their knowledge up to date. Investing the time to find a qualified financial advisor that you are comfortable with, and who understands and shares your financial goals and objectives, will help you achieve them. You'll feel secure knowing that your finances are in order and that you have built a relationship with a financial advisor you trust.