Evaluating an Investment Adviser

Things to consider and questions to ask . . .

By
Jerome V. Bruni, President
  • Integrity and Honesty above all else.

  • Longevity.  Whose track record is it?  How long has the portfolio manager and other employees been with the firm?

  • Communication.  What does the adviser communicate?  How often and in what form?  Are his letters written by his company or another third party?  Or does the adviser provide his own analysis? 

  • Access.  Do clients have access to their own portfolio manager whenever they need it?

  • Portfolio manager’s education/qualifications.  Does he have more than the training by the company he works for?  What professional certifications does he have?  What is the breadth of his experience?

  • Registration.  Is the adviser registered with the SEC (or the state, for smaller advisers)? 

  • Compensation.  Is the adviser compensated based on how much he manages for clients or does his compensation present an incentive to trade frequently?

  • Privacy.  Is the non-public personal information of clients protected and held private?

  • Fiduciary Duty.  Is the adviser registered as an investment adviser and held to a fiduciary standard or is he registered as a broker dealer with no inherent fiduciary obligation?

  • Conflicts of Interest.  Does the adviser have affiliations that create potential conflicts of interest with his clients?