Is Your Financial Planner a Crook?

It’s important to trust your financial advisor.

A few years ago I caught a story on the local news about a financial advisor from my hometown who was arrested for violating that trust. He had been a financial advisor for many years and was charged with financial exploitation of the elderly.

In one instance, he had sold one of his elderly clients an annuity. She trusted her advisor and considered him a friend so she wrote him a check. Did you catch that?

A check directly to him, not the insurance company, in the amount of $20,000 and then he disappeared. As it turns out, she was not the only client  that had been taken advantage of.

Financial Planner Violates Trust

Graph With Stacks Of Coins When I see story like this, I’m angered because I love my profession, I love what I do, and I love earning my clients’ trust. But when you have individuals as such; that abuse that sacred trust with their client, it gives my profession a bad name. You may be wondering if this could happen to you.

What To Do If Your Financial Planner is Crooked

  • If the advisor asks you to write him a personal check, that is a clear red flag. Never, never, write out a check directly to the advisor. Especially, if you are purchasing some kind of investment product.
  • If you recently purchased something but never received anything in the mail, call your advisor and see if you can get a copy of the confirmation ticket. (think of the confirmation ticket as your receipt of purchase)
  • If your advisor is guaranteeing an outrageous rate of return, be extremely cautious. I ran into a competitor that was guaranteeing 12% return on his mutual funds he was offering.

 

Background Checks On Your Advisor

Start by thoroughly researching any broker, financial planner, or adviser you are considering hiring. Explore the North American Securities Administrators Association Website, www.nasaa.org, or call 888-84-NASAA for a regulator in your state.

State regulators, along with the National Association of Securities Dealers, jointly maintain a database of more than 650,000 stockbrokers and 5,000 securities firms. Known as the CRD, or the Central Registration Depository, the database contains critical information, such as whether a broker has ever been sanctioned or fined for investor wrongdoing.

To check CRD records, contact FINRA’s consumer hotline at 800-289-9999, or visit the them online and use their “Broker Check” system.  You’ll be amazed on how much information you can find out about the financial advisor including such things as: previous work history, outside business activities, and if they have any judgements against them.

You shouldn’t just do a background check on the financial advisor you’re considering hiring.  You should also consider doing some research on the one that you are currently working with.   You never know what you’ll find out and it literally only takes a few minutes to find out.

photo credit: seniorliving.org

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