Odyssey Group » Articles » Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor – Part 4

Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor – Part 4

by | Aug 29, 2023

In the final article of our series on questions to ask a financial advisor, we’ll look at two questions that will help you to gain a better understanding of your specific account information.

How can I view my accounts? What type of account communication will I receive?

Clients should have online access and the ability to opt-in for paperless delivery. They should also know how often they will receive account statements and other important documents.

Odyssey Group clients can view their portfolios through our online portal and request for electronic delivery of all documents. We mail a personalized market commentary and statement on a quarterly basis. The custodian (NFS) mails transaction activity, monthly account statements, tax documents, and other account material, as necessary. CFN is required to send regulatory documents such as privacy policies and Know Your Customer updates.

Who are the other parties involved?

There are several possible parties involved in the management of your accounts, on top of the actual advisor. For most managed investment accounts, a custodian is involved. A custodian is the firm that actually holds the funds; examples include Fidelity, Charles Schwab, E-trade, etc. The custodian takes direction from the advisor on how to invest the funds. Some relationships also include a broker/dealer. A broker/dealer gives advisors access to financial markets and serves as an intermediary between the advisor and regulators. It is also possible to have annuity or life insurance accounts, which are specific contracts to that company.

The Odyssey Group utilizes the services of Commonwealth Financial Network (CFN) as broker/dealer for our accounts. Accounts we provide portfolio management services to are custodied by National Financial Services (NFS), a division of Fidelity.

In summary, these eight questions are a good start to determining the right advisor for you:

Are you a fiduciary?
How are you compensated?
What services do you provide and what type of service can be expected?
What are your qualifications?
Who will be handling the relationship going forward?
What does your succession plan look like?
Who are the other parties involved?
What types of account communication will I receive?

If your current or prospective advisor can’t answer these questions with confidence and to your satisfaction, it is probably time to move on. We’d be happy to discuss our philosophy and how we work with our clients. Please contact us here.