Part 4: A Great Relationship Depends on the Advisor’s Platform
The platform of the advisor in this context consists of the people and processes designed to meet the needs of its clients.
Here are four key issues:
- What access do clients have to their financial information? Is the information available on paper and electronically? Does the information clearly portray the transactions and the current portfolio? Insist on seeing samples before agreeing to a relationship. Insist on receiving statements that are clear to you.
- With whom will you be dealing with to move funds into and out of your account through the years following the initial funding of the account or asset? Insist on meeting those people or at least talking with them by phone. Insist on clear answers.
- How will the firm keep in contact with you to review your financial situation and portfolio on a regular basis? How often will the contact take please, in what form (mail, phone, meeting, Skype,…)? Will the contact always take place with the same person or can you be in contact with more than one person?
- Simply, but importantly, when you email or call the firm, how will that contact be handled? By a well-trained employee, a computer, or a entry-level receptionist? Give it a try before you agree to a new relationship.
You wouldn’t buy a car without taking a test drive. Do not enter a new financial relationship without testing the way that you will be treated after you have opened the account. Also, be sure to insist at all times on clear answers: if you do not understand an answer to your question, it is not your fault – it is the fault of the investment professional. Do not let anyone give you a “song and dance” when you need clear information!