by Jack Waymire
There is a proliferation of financial advisor directories on several websites. Is a Financial Advisor Directory a reliable way to select higher quality financial advisors or is their main purpose to generate traffic for their websites?
Directories use data aggregation technology to download lists of advisors from FINRA and SEC databases. For example, there are more than 650,000 advisors who are listed on the FINRA website. The directories use custom programs to display varying amounts of advisor data in a user-friendlier format than you will find on the regulatory agency websites.
Financial Advisor Due Diligence
None of the websites vet advisors before they are listed in their directories. This creates a major risk for unwary investors. At least 75% of advisors are really salesmen who masquerade as advisors to reduce sales resistance. Unfortunately, most investors do not know this risk exists.
All advisors market themselves as financial experts. This sales claim helps them sell investment and insurance products. Consequently, investors have to conduct their own due diligence to determine the actual quality of financial advisors.
There is an exception. The Paladin website has a financial advisor directory application that investors use to conduct searches for top quality financial advisors in their communities. Paladin researches each advisor before they are listed in its directory.
Paladin’s researchers use a proprietary algorithm to rate the quality of advisor credentials, ethics, business practices, and services. The researchers also review advisor compliance records at FINRA, ADVs at the SEC, and conduct online due diligence. These combined research activities determine who qualifies to list their services in Paladin’s directory.
The Paladin service is designed to help investors select advisors with the best qualifications and not the best sales skills.
Step one – Finding a financial advisor. Most of the time, advisors find investors. However, when investors do look for advisors they can use several online directories and the Yellow Pages.
Step two – Learn more about the advisor. The Yellow Pages provide no information. Depending on the directory there may be a nominal amount of information that describes advisor licensing and compliance records. Paladin Research documents 35 points of information for each advisor.
Step three – Interview and select the professional with the best qualifications. Investors should select a top quality advisor who has specialized knowledge and services that will help them achieve their financial goals. And, they want an advisor they can trust to put their financial interests first. Less than 25% of advisors meet this selection criteria.
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