For doctors, it’s seldom that patients visit them because they’re perfectly healthy. As investment fraud attorneys, our work is a little similar. In our case, no one calls us to report that their financial advisers are responsibly managing their funds.
Lest people think we don’t appreciate the work of financial planners, we want to point out that there are a lot of good ones out there! After all, in some cases it’s a broker that exposes the fraud or misconduct of another.
Embracing the holiday spirit, let’s celebrate all of the good financial planners and stockbrokers. Here are 4 key skills that land good brokers on Santa’s Nice List.
- Strong Communication Skills
Good brokers may have several clients who need their attention, yet they will still respond to questions in a timely manner.
If speaking with potential brokers, ask what their typical contact is with their clients. Setting communication expectations upfront is a good way to foster adviser-investor relationships.
Pay attention to brokers’ listening skills. Make sure they have an ability to understand your expectations and the goals that you outline together. Good brokers will be passionate about their work and willing to guide you through the investment process by explaining strategy and readily providing documentation.
- Expertise and Growing Knowledge
Good brokers continually work to deepen their knowledge of financial planning topics, whether this be through continuing education, independent research, or through years of practice.
In an article published in Money magazine, the Financial Planning Association found in a study that 90% of clients want their financial advisers to have leadership qualities that include expertise. Says financial planning expert Rick Kahler, “Clients want planners to be experts, to have knowledge about all things financial, and to know how to apply that knowledge to clients’ unique sets of circumstances.”
- Clients’ Interests Always Come First
Even though brokers and financial planners are in the business to make money for themselves, good brokers will always put the needs of their clients first. That is, they primarily act in their clients’ best interests, even though they may earn more money by recommending a different course of action to their clients.
For example, good brokers will not charge 1.5% for asset management if the industry standard is .5%. A good financial planner ensures the financial interests of both parties are aligned.
Good brokers make sure their client’s financial goals match the approach to financial planning that they are recommending. A broker with strong ethics does not sell a client unneeded products, or repeatedly churn investments by excessively buying and selling stocks for commission.
- Thinks ahead and responds with a plan
The market fluctuates, and investments can increase and decrease over time.
Good brokers anticipate market changes. They do not gloss over “bad news,” but instead address the problem. Good brokers have empathy and assuage their client’s fears, while also presenting a plan for moving forward. The client’s goals, both in the short-term and long-term, are always at the forefront of their actions.
Remember that when seeking out a new broker or maintaining a relationship with your current broker, it is always appropriate to ask questions. You need to be comfortable that you have the right person giving you investment advice. Good financial advisers should be able to demonstrate that they possess the skills and characteristics discussed above.
If you are an investor and believe you may be the victim of fraud or negligence, you may be able to pursue a claim against your stockbroker. Contact Fishman Haygood to learn what actions you may be able to take.