There are over 210 possible different credentials available to financial advisors. Very few of those credentials are regulated and some mean little or nothing. It is important for every investor to do their homework and really get to know their financial advisor, their credentials, licensing and experience. Simply because your advisor has many credentials or friends have recommended them is not enough.
While the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and CFA (Certified Financial Advisor) designations require course work, exams and continuing education many certifications in the financial industry do not. So what should an investor do in order to select a financial advisor? There are a number of things that can be done.
- Everyone can go and look up the record of the advisor they are considering using on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck service. The BrokerCheck service will give you important information about the advisor you are considering; such as if that advisor has had prior complaints, been sued before, where he or she has worked in the past and for how long, the reason they left a prior employer, in addition to information about licensing and credentials.
- Next, look at the information from state securities regulators at the North American Securities Administrators Association.
- Also, review the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website regarding the advisor you are considering using.
A good question to ask a prospective advisor regarding their credentials is what percentage of people who apply for the credential obtain it? Also, feel free to ask about the qualifications of the instructors for the credential program touted. As an investor interviewing a financial advisor, you should be careful if the advisor is put off or unable to answer such simple questions.
If you have already fallen victim to an unqualified investment advisor and suspect an incidence of investment fraud, please call the Carlson Law Firm at (619) 544-9300 or contact a San Diego securities fraud attorney today.