Where to Find a Financial Advisor

In our blogs, and when interviewed, we frequently talk about the fact that women are more affluent than ever and that they would like to find a financial advisor they are comfortable with. But as often, we are asked by women, “where do I start when looking for an advisor?”

One’s relationship with a financial advisor is pretty intimate – after all, you are going to entrust this person with your money and you are going to be sharing details of your life and goals. So you need to do more than randomly pick one from a directory. Ideally you are going to want to talk to at least three before you make the final decisions about which one you are most comfortable with. (see: How to Choose a financial advisor)

The most reliable way is to ask people for recommendations. But we also suggest you do your own research.

1. Ask

You can start by asking your female friends, family and associates who they deal with.

Often women say they are reluctant to talk about finances with friends and family, but it can be as simple as asking, “do you have a financial advisor you are happy with?” If they say no or seem uncomfortable, that’s fine, move on. But chances are if they have one they like, they will be happy to share the information with you. So keep trying.

Questions to ask if you find someone willing to share:

  • What is your experience with this individual?

  • What is it that you like the most about dealing with this advisor?

  • How well do you trust him/her?

  • How secure do you feel about reaching your goals with this person?

  • Do they make you feel comfortable?

  • Do they explain things in a way you can understand?

You can also ask a banker you trust, real estate agent, your pension plan provider, mortgage broker, lawyer or accountant if they could recommend someone for you to speak with.

Professionals frequently have relationships with financial advisors. If you know anyone in these areas whose opinion you trust just ask them, “do you know of a financial advisor you would be happy recommending?” Make it clear what type of person you are looking for, (one who listens and who’ll help me understand more about investing and who is good with female clients for instance).

Questions to ask if they recommend someone.

  • What makes you comfortable in recommending this person?

  • How long have you known this person?

  • Do they have female clients who “look” like me?

  • What do you know about how they work with clients?

  • Do you deal with this individual personally?

  • Why do you think this person would be right for me?

2. Do your own research.

Even if you get a few names from friends and family, you will benefit from doing your own research too. The internet makes this easier than ever.

Here is how to go about it:

  • Look for a firm you think you can trust (e.g. a bank brokerage firm like RBC Dominion Securities or TD Wealth or CIBC Wood Gundy or ScotiaMcLeod or National Bank Financial, etc.)

  • Go to their web site (they all have a “find an advisor” tools)

  • Decide whether you want a female or male advisor – if it really matters to you

  • Decide on the most convenient location (town/city)

  • Call the branch manager of the branches that show up and tell him/her the type of “person” you’re looking for (one who listens and who’ll help me understand more about investing and who is good with female clients for instance)

  • Ask the manager for at least 2 or 3 advisors they would recommend, this way you will have several to interview but all from the same firm. Alternatively, you could go through the same process with three different firms and ask to interview 1 from each. Your goal is to have several to choose from.

  • Interview each by following our recommendations in How to Chose a Financial Advisor

NOTES

When you have the names of at least three people:

  • First check each advisor on their own website or through LinkedIn – you might eliminate some through this process.

  • If you are okay with what you see, call each one (should be at least 3 for comparison purposes).

  • When talking on the phone do tell them who referred you and ask to meet with them.

  • You should get a good sense of your comfort level simply by chatting on the phone, ask a few casual questions. If you can only talk to an administrative assistant to set up an appointment – you may want to reconsider.

  • Read (review the How to choose a Financial Advisor) before you meet and make sure you take notes when you meet.

  • Do not feel pressured to commit with anyone. If you do not feel comfortable with any that you interview – keep looking. This is too important a decision to “settle” for the least objectionable.

 

 

Never feel pressured to commit with just anyone.

If you do not feel comfortable with any that you interview – keep looking.

This is too important a decision to “settle” for the least objectionable.

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