Brokers, who are regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, must adhere to a looser "suitability standard," rather than the stricter fiduciary standard. It simply means that brokers must choose products that are suitable for their clients based on age, goals and risk tolerance. On the FINRA site you can conduct a background check on brokers.
The SEC's Central Registration Depository lists any disciplinary actions taken against brokers and advisers, as well as the firms for which they work. Another good source is the North American Securities Administrators Association, an organization comprising consumer groups, state securities regulators and investment providers dedicated to investor protections. The NASAA published a guide about investment professionals called "Cutting through the confusion" that's worth reviewing.
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards conducts investigations of complaints filed against Certified Financial Planners and lists any disciplinary actions taken on its Web site.
Find the best fit by interviewing several advisers.
Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages thoughtful and constructive comments. We ask that you stay focused on the story topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, illegal contents and advertisement posts. Comments are not reviewed before they are posted. Bankrate reserves the right (but is not obligated) to edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused. We do not permit the inclusion of hyperlinks in comments and may remove any comment that includes a hyperlink.
Learn the latest trends that will help grow your portfolio, plus tips on investing strategies. Delivered weekly.
Dear Dr. Don, I would like to begin investing money to use in retirement. I want to be conservative with these investments, and I don't know where to begin. Any advice on retirement investing would be appreciated. Thank... Read more
What if you could participate in the market's upside performance while protecting yourself against downside risk?
These products exist. They are equity-indexed annuities and equity-linked CDs.
... Read more