Before Hiring a Financial Advisor Check Out This New Online Tool

Educate yourself with AARP’s free “Interview an Advisor” guide

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

February 5, 2018 - Consumers are encouraged to check out a new online guide that walks you through the questions you should ask before hiring a financial advisor. Interview an Advisor a free tool launched recently by AARP and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which LARA’s Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing Bureau (CSCL) is a member. NASAA is the voice of state securities agencies responsible for efficient capital formation and grass-roots investor protection.

“When it comes to investing, nothing will pay off more than educating yourself,” said CSCL Director Julia Dale. “Take the time to do your homework before making any investment decision, don’t be afraid to ask questions, have a clear understanding of the products and services being offered, and the fees you will be paying.”

Dale said that many people just don’t know where to start or what to ask when interviewing or selecting a financial advisor. Interview an Advisor helps take the guesswork out of the process by providing a sample script and questions. Consumers can learn what to ask to
find out about an advisor’s experience, licensure, and education; services and products offered; compensation; and standard of care, that is, whether an advisor is required to act as a fiduciary who is “obligated to act in the investor’s best interest.”

While registered investment advisers serve as fiduciaries who are required to provide advice that is in their clients’ best interest, many other financial advisors operate under different requirements that obligate them only to make recommendations that are “suitable.”
Interview an Advisor will help consumers avoid confusion about a financial professional’s standards. However, it does not help the uniformed investor know what the “right” answers would be. “Consumers can always contact us to make sure that the person or company they are working with or a securities product they are considering purchasing is registered in Michigan,” said Dale. “Carefully consider your individual financial situation and your goals before selecting a financial advisor.”

To protect consumers, the State of Michigan requires the proper registration of investment adviser representatives, securities agents, broker-dealers, and investment adviser firms, and the securities they are selling, and that representations made in filings with the Department are complete and accurate. Before entering into an investment, Michigan consumers are encouraged to contact CSCL and the bureau can run a registration check on any investment adviser, broker-dealer, professional, or product. CSCL can be reached at 517-241-6345 or online at: www.michigan.gov/securities.

Interview an Advisor is available to anyone; AARP membership is not required. The app-like tool is optimized for mobile use, and can run on any smartphone, table device or computer. Users can log a potential advisor’s answers to each of the interview questions. The responses are aggregated online for AARP’s research purposes. No personal information is requested or entered. Consumers do have the option to input their name and email address, separately to subscriber to AARP’s monthly Money Matters newsletter.

NASAA is a voluntary association whose membership consists of 67 state, provincial, and territorial securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico.

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