Have you outgrown your wealth manager?

by Badgley Phelps | Aug 06, 2019

As you move through life, your wealth management needs can change. An adviser who was perfect for you a decade ago may not be right now. Here are four questions to ask yourself when considering if you need to upgrade your wealth management team:

  1. Has my investable asset value increased substantially since I originally hired my manager? You may have hired the manager when you had $250,000 and now, through growth and/or additions, your nest egg exceeds a million dollars. Are you now a big fish in a small pond?
  2. Does the expertise of my wealth manager still match up with the complexity of my financial situation? Has your manager continued his/her education? Does your team include specialists like a Certified Financial Planner®? It’s important to consider if your wealth management team has expertise in the areas that are relevant to your current situation. Does your current firm have a team of specialists for financial planning and investment management, or are you working with a generalist? Consider also evaluating the investment offerings of the firm to see if they still make sense. For example, from a tax, cost and flexibility perspective you may benefit from holding your securities directly (in individual stocks and bonds) vs. owning a pooled product such as a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (“ETF”). Does your current firm offer these services, and do they have an attractive long-term performance record?
  3. Do I know how much I am paying (in total) for the advice I am receiving? Thanks to the marketing of discount brokers, investors are realizing that not all costs they are paying are visible. You should have full transparency of what your total costs are as an investor. Make sure you include the direct fees you pay and any indirect costs such as commissions, mutual fund and ETF expense ratios, as well as costs related to any insurance or annuity products you are invested in.
  4. Is my advisor a fiduciary? In the last decade, investors have become more educated on the regulation of the investment industry. A registered investment adviser is required by law to be a fiduciary on an ongoing basis and this duty applies to the entire adviser/client relationship. It encompasses a duty of care and loyalty to provide investment advice in the best interest of the client and eliminating or disclosing any conflicts of interest which would conflict with doing what is best for the client. No other investment professional is required by law to uphold this fiduciary standard. When you ask your wealth manager if they are a fiduciary, make sure to confirm whether this fiduciary duty is applied at all times and not just for specific transactions.

Ready to work with someone new? If you think you’ve outgrown your wealth manager and would like to see if our team is a better fit, contact us today.


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