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How to Change Financial Advisors

Bob Hapanowicz

When it comes to wealth management, you probably already know
that it's easier when you work with financial professionals. You may already be
working with an advisor or a wealth management team. You may even like your
current advisor(s)! Perhaps you engage in social activities together, such as
golf or tennis. You might share charitable priorities, and you may also know
each other's families. Wealth management is personal. But at the end of the
day, business is business. That is why you need to consider whether your wealth
management team or financial advisor is doing all that they can to put you on
the right financial path. After all, this is your hard-earned money, your
family, your future, and your self-preservation at stake.

It may be difficult to separate the personal from the business
in a wealth management relationship, but think about it for a moment like any
other service or job. For example, you really may like the individuals who
service your car, but you still rightfully expect quality service at a fair
price and a job done right. If you did not feel you were receiving quality
services, if you thought you were over-charged, or if your car was not running
as it should, you would certainly start to look around for better options. The
same goes for a financial advisor, no matter how close your relationship may
be. At the end of the day, your advisor works for you, and you deserve the best
job possible.

For starters, you must have a solid understanding of what your
financial advisor or team should be doing for you. Here are a few of the core
services you should expect from your advisor or wealth management team.

  • Your wealth management team or advisor should develop current and future financial plans based on your short and long-term goals, with a demonstrated interest and understanding of your vision for now and for the future. 
  • Your advisor(s) should work with you to create a strategy to manage and increase your income, assets, and overall wealth. 
  • Your advisor(s) should use your vision as the guidepost for decision-making and recommendations. 
  • They should communicate with you proactively and update you regularly on any changes, market trends, or tax considerations. 
  • They should be assisting you with understanding and managing your cash flow, as well as helping you in making significant purchase decisions. 
  • You should feel as though you and your financial needs are a top priority to your advisor or team.

If you are unhappy with the service or attention, or if you
aren't seeing progress toward pursuing your goals, it may be time to consider
changing your financial advisor. Here are some steps you need to take if you
are considering a change in your financial advisor or wealth management
team. 

  1. Start by researching new wealth management firms. You'll want to ensure that a new advisor or firm demonstrates how they will treat you with care and respect. 
  2. Perform a background check on the new wealth management firm regarding their credentials and certifications. Feel free to ask for their credentials upfront. Any respectable firm or advisor should be more than willing to provide you with the information you request. 
  3. Work with the new wealth management team to protect your current assets for the move. For example, you may need to have records transferred, monies moved, take possession of particular securities, and more. Your new financial advisor should demonstrate how they will help guide you through this process.
  4. Your new wealth management team or advisor will also help you identify any obligations you may have upon leaving your former advisors. That may include any fees, unexpired terms on certificates of deposit, and others. It's important to understand these may have to remain in place for a time. However, if you believe for any reason that you need to exit your existing relationship immediately, you should consider the costs and consequences of leaving early. These costs may involve paying early withdrawal fees, surrender penalties, or letting go of services that you already paid for without hope of a refund.
  5. Notify the former firm in writing. The note should be short and concise. Your new advisor or team will be able to assist you with the language you'll need to use.  

Wealth management is about securing your assets and your future.
While change can be difficult, it is may also be a necessity for ensuring
you're on the best financial path. At Hapanowicz & Associates, we can help
you assess your current situation, make recommendations on what you should
expect from your financial advisors, and serve as your trusted guide through
the process. 

Please feel free to reach out to me directly to confidentially
discuss any questions or concerns you might have about making changes to your
existing wealth management team. I can be reached by email at reh@hapanowicz-associates.com