How To Select An Advisor

Your relationship with your financial advisor is special. There has to be a level of trust and just plain chemistry between you, or reaching your goals will be difficult. Whether you choose The Windsor Group or another financial planning and wealth management agency, here are the questions you need to ask:

Ask about personal credentials.

Pay close attention to the letter designations after a potential advisor’s name. It shows a level of experience and commitment to their discipline—and can reveal blind spots and potential weaknesses.

CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) and ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) are insurance industry credentials. CPA designates a specialist in accounting and tax. CFA designates a specialist in investment management. On the other hand, the designation CFP Practitioner singles out advisors who concentrate on comprehensive planning. Each member of Windsor Group’s Investment Policy Committee is professionally credentialed.

Ask about financial relationships.

Is the advisor tied to, owned by, or an employee of any big bank, insurance company or stock brokerage house? Links like these can create conflicts of interest in your relationship with your advisor. You want a neutral advisor whose only goal is to help you. Also ask how the advisor will be paid—is it a commission, a portion of your profits or a flat fee?

Ask if any of the advisor’s work is outsourced.

Some financial advisory and accounting firms hire outside (and sometimes very distant and impersonal) “turn-key” operations to handle investment recommendation, selection, and report preparation. You want to know who is doing the day-to-day management of your account. Feeling comfortable with that person or team is important to your financial success; outsourcing can put distance between your advisor and you.

All of the Windsor Group’s Investment Manager Due Diligence & Financial Planning work is done in-house for our individual clients, so you know you will have a personal relationship with someone who knows your case inside and out.

Ask if the candidate is registered with their state or the Securities and Exchange Commission as an investment advisor.

Every advisor must be registered. Depending on their size, they might be registered with their state or with the SEC to legally charge for their advice. To get a registration, the advisor must fully disclose their work history, educational background and financial affiliations.

The Windsor Group is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.

Ask for references.

If you did not learn about the advisor from a trusted friend or family member, ask for references. Whenever possible, ask for references who live in your area, have a similar level of assets and who have worked with the company for some time. If a company does not want to provide references, you should be suspicious.

The Windsor Group would be happy to provide you with references.

Ask to see a sample of their work.

Most advisors will not want to give away all their secrets, but they should be willing to let the excellence of their work speak for itself. Ask for sample portfolios, plans and other guiding materials so you feel comfortable with what you will receive.

The Windsor Group is happy to provide samples upon request.

More questions about choosing a financial planner? Contact us. Even if you choose another advisor, we want you to make an informed, smart decision.