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Five Questions You Should Always Ask Any Financial Advisor

The vast majority of the world's liquid investable wealth is in the hands of investment fiduciaries, and the success or failure of investment fiduciaries can have a material impact on the fiscal health of any country.

If you are like many investors, you are probably wondering if your current investment strategy will be enable you to retire on schedule and comfortably pay for your lifestyle after retirement.

Successful relationships between investors and financial advisers are built on trust and that trust is grounded in a commitment by the adviser to act solely in your best interests. How can you really be certain the individual you are entrusting not only embraces their commitment to you but is genuinely qualified to fulfill their obligation to serve you?


A fiduciary is any investment professional or financial adviser who is required by law and practice to act solely in the interest of and with undivided loyalty to their clients. A fiduciary's recommendations must align with your specific financial goals, time frame, risk tolerance levels, and cash flow needs. When managing your assets, a fiduciary must strive for a successful balance of risk and return. The Adviser must exercise care, skill, diligence, and objectivity in evaluating, recommending, and reviewing the traditional and/or alternative investment options. Any Adviser that you retain to manage your investments in a fiduciary capacity is a professionally obligated to ensure that:

* Any and all recommendations and or services they provide reflect your specific financial goals, expected returns, time frame, and risk tolerance
* Any and all assets within your investment portfolio are appropriately diversified among a range of securities, Exchange Traded Funds, mutual funds, or asset classes to attempt to effectively manage risk and volatility
* Any and all assets activities, recommendations, and decisions are conducted in a thorough, objective and prudent manner
* Your assets are held in a secure account by a qualified custodian, which could be a brokerage firm, bank, trust company, or insurance company
* You receive statements at least quarterly, but ideally monthly, which will list updated values, transactions, interest and dividend payments for all positions in your account

Five Questions You Should Always Ask Any Advisor

* Will you always put my best interests above all others?
* Will you act with prudence: that is, with the skill care, diligence and good judgement of a professional?
* Will you provide full and fair disclosure of all important facts?
* Will you avoid conflicts of interest whenever possible?
* Will you fully disclose and mange, in my favor unavoidable conflicts?

All Financial Advisers should be able to provide clear and concise answers to these five questions and be willing to disclose this information with you in writing. Make certain to inquire how their relationship with you will operate and list the resources and tools that are incorporated into their business practice.

By Bob Lawson, AIF®, CFE®, RFC®, LUTCF®
FINRA & Securities Expert Witness - FINRA Mediator & Arbitrator - Mediation Consultant
Bob Lawson is the President and Chief Compliance Officer of Barrington Capital Management, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisory firm that he established in 1988. He is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, Certified Fraud Examiner, FINRA & NFA Dispute Resolution Arbitrator and a Qualified Neutral under Minnesota Rule 114.

Copyright Bob Lawson, AIF®, CFE®, RFC®, LUTCF®

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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