The current issue of Financial Advisor magazine has an article about the ranking of financial advisors. The issue they raise is an important one. The amount of assets that an advisor has is often used as a shorthand way of determining how “good” that advisor is. It’s a term called “assets under management” (AUM). To use an automotive expression, when you look under the hood, AUM often has no bearing on the quality of the advisor.
Some large firms, even those with over a billion dollars in AUM have one huge client and a bunch of little accounts. Under those circumstances you can imagine how much attention the small clients get. In fact, it’s a common complaint of people who work with large firms, they don’t get much attention unless they have tens or hundred of millions in assets.
Other firms have one or several principals in their mid to late 60s. They could very well go out of business when they retire, leaving their clients looking for a new advisor. How would you feel if your advisor shut down when you are retired?
The bottom line is this: your advisor should be there for you for a long, long time. Check out the firm, ask about their clients; see if the people there will be there for you for the rest of your life.
Check us out. We stack up very well. And check out our book on estate planning: BEFORE IF GO.