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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/thebadger-given-all-the-attributes-you-would-have-19669451.aspx

Subject:  Re: After meeting with a Financial Advisor Date:  10/4/2003  11:58 PM
Author:  PosFCF Number:  37394 of 75383

TheBadger

Given all the attributes you would have to have from your Financial Advisor, I think it might be a better starting point to define what services you want from that Advisor.

CPA, CFP, Stock Broker, Insurance Licensed, that's a lot under one shingle for one person to carry. Then add "no commission" and "You can advise but don't advise this, and don't advise that, and don't advise the other thing (bundled insurance, load funds, anything with a commission, etc.)

I'm not surprised you haven't found your ideal candidate yet. I suspect there are not a lot of people out there that fit that bill. The ones that are, that are any good and have been in the business 10 years probably are either not accepting new clients or insisting on high net worth only at this stage.

Merrill Lynch insisted all their brokers become CFPs and work in teams that provided all those services, yet I can't say I'm overly impressed with their performance as a group.

I don't know, for me, I don't really care if my Financial advisor is a CPA, if I need a CPA (which, so far, I haven't), I'll go find one. I also don't really care if my Advisor is or is not a CFP (or a Financial Planner at all), I think I can pretty well figure out that if I live within my means and save regularly, things will turn out OK over time. And, although it would seem that longevity in the field would mean something, I'm not so sure it really does. I've seen some folks who have been in the business 15 or more years that didn't have a clue about how to evaluate a company.

What I want from a Financial Advisor is Investment advice. And darn good advice at that! I think I'd like to pick his/her brains for what they think about this or that company or this or that fund, and see what they say. (I will want to ask about a company that I have done my homework on and that I am very clear about.) If he asks me for time to do his research, that's fine, it took me time to do mine.

When I mention "cash flow" do they know what it is? How to derive it? How to determine if its selling at apremium or a discount? What does the concept of "a margin of safety" mean to them? Do they have a viewpoint of the economy, if so, what is it? What are their own top 5 or 10 holdings, when and why did they buy, when and why will they sell? What portion of their business is annuities? (this will indicate whether I am talking to a Financial Advisor or an Insurance Salesman). In other words, what I'm trying to get a handle on, is 1). How much does he know (and all the degrees, and letters after the name and number of years in the business are no subsitute for this answer); 2). How in touch does he seem to be with my viewpoint on investing and the economy; 3). How soon (if ever) is he going to try to talk me into an annuity?

I really don't care that much about the commission. Either he's going to make it or someone else will. So, if he's doing a good job for me, I'd rather it be him. Of course, if I'm going to be doing some volume, I'll expect to negotiate a discount and I'll only want to negotiate once. I don't want to feel like I have to beg for the discount on every trade, let's just settle on a routine number and apply it by default.

I want to have quarterly performance reviews. I calculate earnings very simply: Net proceeds minus total cost = gain; Gain plus dividends paid = total gain; Total Gain divided by total cost = yield. Let's keep it simple, after all fees and commissions were paid, what did I make?

I guess I just want my Financial Advisor to be the professional they're supposed to be. I have to have benchmarks by which to evaluate the likelihood of that which is why the questions I ask, and then it is my responsibility to evaluate performance regularly to see what's what.

PosFCF
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