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Education

Working with a Financial Professional

What do I need to know?

At a minimum, your advisor should hold the CFP® designation. Individuals who have been authorized to use the CFP® certification have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.

Interviewing planners

It is strongly recommended that you interview at least three planners. We have created a questionnaire to help you in this process. You may also download a printable version of this 403bwise Advisor Questionnaire (PDF).

  1. What is your educational background?
  2. What is your CRD (Central Registration Depository) number?
  3. What financial credentials do you hold?
  4. What is your financial planning education?
  5. How did you become a financial advisor?
  6. How long have you been offering financial services?
  7. What state and/or national oversight agencies are you registered with?
  8. How many hours of continuing education do you take each year?
  9. How many clients do you currently serve?
  10. Will I work directly with you?
  11. How do you educate your clients about the investment process and their specific portfolio?
  12. Explain how you will diversify my portfolio.
  13. What is your investment philosophy?
  14. Please detail all fees or commission involved, including all costs of mutual funds or variable annuity sub accounts.
  15. How will my plan be implemented?
  16. How often will we meet?
  17. Please include any fees related to closing an account (i.e. surrender or back-end charges.)
  18. Please provide me with a written agreement that details services that will be provided.
  19. Please provide in writing your pledge to act as fiduciary on my behalf.
  20. How are you compensated?

Fiduciary pledge

Finally, you should have your advisor sign a fiduciary pledge stating that he or she will put your financial interests above is or her own. Download a printable version of our Fiduciary Pledge (PDF) to take with you to your planner interviews.