FEDweek

Know Your Advisor’s Interests

Before you sign an engagement letter with a financial advisor, be cautious about where his or her interests lie. Here are some red flags that may send you elsewhere:

* “You need this investment.” An adviser who pushes a particular product may not be focused on your individual needs.

* “You need assets I can manage.” Many advisors charge fees on the basis of assets under management so they want to maximize such assets. They may be less enthusiastic about, say, real estate investment property, which takes assets away from their fee structure.

* “Call this agent.” Referrals to other financial professionals, such as insurance agents, are common. Referral fees, though, ultimately will be paid be you. Find out why this particular person is getting the recommendation, and whether referral fees are involved.

* “I’m the greatest.” An advisor who spends more time telling you about his or her accomplishments than asking about your goals is an advisor you probably should avoid.