Whether you’re assessing your current Financial Advisor or searching for a new one, make sure you ask these questions to make sure you’re a good fit for each other!
What Services and Process Do You Offer?
Our Answer: Polaris offers a 5-Step Process for personalized Private Wealth Planning SM and investment management. This includes identifying your unique goals and reviewing the issues that matter to you most, including cash flow, retirement, education funding, portfolio allocation, portfolio management, tax planning, business succession or sale, long-term care, insurance, charitable giving, and estate planning.
Why You Should Ask This: Make sure you understand the services offered from the beginning of your relationship, and take advantage of all features that are applicable to you. Some firms offer a variety of services, and many of the large firms only offer portfolio management and asset allocation. We strongly suggest you work with a firm that does true Financial Planning and has a strong network of attorneys and accountants who can offer additional expertise.
Who is Your Typical Client?
Our Answer: Successful entrepreneurs, executives, and other high-net-worth individuals and their families.
Why You Should Ask This: Do you fit that mold? If not, are they going to be the best firm for you or is there a different firm that specializes in situations like yours?
What Percentage of Your Clients Come Through Referral?
Our Answer: Since we are an independent wealth management firm and not a big Wall Street firm, our clients typically hear of us by word-of-mouth.
Why You Should Ask This: A high percentage of referrals may signify that the company is focused on good client service.
Who Will Be Working With Me?
Our Answer: One of Polaris’ unique features is that every client is a client of the entire Polaris Team. We feel it’s important that you benefit from the full breadth of knowledge and service our Team offers. You’ll be introduced to the Team and the Polaris Team concept on your first visit to the office.
Why You Should Ask This: Most firms operate in an “Advisor and Administration Staff” model, which we feel lacks the depth and breadth of a “Team Offering” that is so valuable to high net worth clients.
What Is Your Succession Plan?
Our Answer: Our goal is for our Team to service generations of a client’s family. This is why we value our Team members developing strong, lasting relationships with each of our clients so that they can build on the work of our founding partners.
Why You Should Ask This: Are you working with one single advisor? What happens to your money if something happens to your advisor?
What Certifications Does Your Team Have?
Our Answer: Our Team includes Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs), CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS (CFP®s), and a Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®).
Why You Should Ask This: It’s important to know what credentials and education any Advisory Team has. We suggest that Teams have CFAs and CFP®s as a bare minimum.
How Much Contact Do You Have with Your Clients?
Our Answer: We believe that the amount of contact you have with our Team be tailored to your needs and expectations. You can expect to have several meetings within the first few months of becoming a client as we develop your Private Wealth Plan. We also post an entertaining and educational weekly “Off the Wall” Blog along with other videos and articles to help our clients keep informed of market events and our thoughts.
Why You Should Ask This: You and your Advisory Team should agree on how best to communicate with each other before entering a relationship. Your conversation with your Advisor should cover your expectations for meetings, phone calls and email communication.
How Accessible Are You?
Our Answer: At Polaris, you have access to a full team of professionals working for you. This means that you can contact any one of us for help, making us much more available than a single advisor.
Why You Should Ask This: If you have an urgent matter, you need to be sure that your advisor is available to assist you right away to ease your worries.
Are You a Fiduciary?
Our Answer: Yes. As a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), we are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and are required to act as fiduciaries. Additionally, our CFP® and CFA credentials require us to always act in the best interest of our clients. Finally, Monument’s values and culture revolve around trust and integrity – we know of no other way than to always act in the best interest of our clients because if it were not for them, Polaris would not exist.
Why You Should Ask This: We believe that it is important for investors to work with a fiduciary who is required to always place clients’ interests FIRST. A fiduciary must disclose fees, how they’re compensated, and any other conflicts (or potential conflicts) of interest that might affect you as a client.
How Would You Invest My Money?
Our Answer: Come in for a Polaris Meeting so we can first find out what your money is for. It is only then that we can recommend an allocation that is most appropriate for your individual situation.
Why You Should Ask This: Advisors should technically not be able to answer this question without the full picture of your life and conducting thorough financial planning. If they start to pitch you on their latest products, beware – they might be acting as salespeople rather than true practitioners.
What Is Your Investment Philosophy?
Our Answer: Our investment philosophy is to have a long-term Private Wealth Plan, and invest according to your plan. Do NOT try to time the market. Do NOT make hasty decisions based on current events or news. Instead, stick to your long-term plan, which we make sure is aligned with your investment risk tolerance, and you’ll be able to keep your cool. Always have 12- 18 months’ cash available so you will not feel pressure to sell during an unfavorable time in the market.
Why You Should Ask This: First make sure your advisor explains this in simple terms that are clear and easy for you to understand. Good communication is key, and a solid investment management process begins with a philosophy
Why Do You Do What You Do?
Our Answer: zxxxxxx
Why You Should Ask This: It’s important to know people’s intentions, and how they ended up where they are. Are they focused on YOU, the client?