How to Evaluate your Current Financial Advisor

November 14, 2019 | Christina Hapanowicz
Financial Advisor

Making wealth management work for you seems like the most natural part of wealth management in principle. After all, achieving your goals is supposed to be the goal of the entire process! Without the right partners, however, you may find it doesn’t work at all or as well as you hoped. 

So, how do you know if you have the right partners? A simple evaluation is usually the best place to start, and it’s probably the way you would approach other services or individuals providing professional services in your life. You might evaluate the cost of services, the benefits of the services you are receiving, or you might dig deeper and assess whether your values and your vision for the future are in alignment with your advisor or team.  

It can feel challenging to reconsider the personal relationships you may have built with your financial advisor or wealth management team. Also, if you don’t feel you have those personal relationships, that might be a significant indicator that an evaluation is in order. It can also be overwhelming to start evaluating your current advisor or team and reaching the conclusion that you might need to transition to a new advisor or team. 

Here are a few reflections to help you determine whether the level of services you’re currently receiving works for you. 

Evaluate if their financial planning services are adequate and appropriate when compared to your needs. 

Consider the following when it comes to their approach to more general financial planning services: 

  • Are you getting the information you need to make appropriate decisions? Do you feel comfortable asking for that information, or do you have a sense that your inquiries are not well-received? 
  • Do you think you have a trusted partner who acts with your best interests in mind?  
  • How is your financial advisor growing your investment portfolio? Are they respecting your tolerance for risk and diversifying your portfolio to manage risk? 
  • Are they open and upfront with you in how and why their firm charges for services? Do you fully understand, and are you comfortable with their rationale? 

Take stock of performance, stability, and coaching factors. 

Consider the following concerning your investment performance, portfolio stability, and the level of coaching and guidance you receive:

  • How does your financial advisor monitor investment risk and return? Do they monitor and report on your account daily, weekly, monthly, annually, or only when you call and ask to schedule a review? 
  • Do you find them on top of the market and able to act with agility to market trends, or do they react in panic to daily fluxes in the market? 
  • How honest and transparent are they with sharing information, whether positive or negative, on your portfolio’s performance to meet your financial goals? 

Consider whether your needs and vision are prioritized and understood.  

You and your future should be your financial advisor’s concern. Keep in mind that it is your life, your future, your finances, your family, and all of your hard work at stake. Your financial plans and goals are what matter. If you feel your financial advisor does not take your needs seriously, or always seems to have more urgent or pressing issues to attend to, you may want to consider looking for another. 

Trust and transparency are critical components of the relationships between you and your financial advisors. They should be working with and for you, your finances, and your future. 

If you have concerns or questions about your relationships, portfolio performance, or the expectations you should have for your financial advisor or team, we can assist you. We’ll respectfully and confidentially work with you to assess where you are currently and make recommendations on whether market trends or a lack of performance is affecting your portfolio. A new perspective is a great way to gain knowledge about what you should expect from an advisor.  We encourage you to reach out to any member of our team for questions or more information, or you can reach out to me directly at cmh@hapanowicz-associates.com.


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