Understanding the fees associated with working with a financial advisor is critical for an investor. It’s necessary to decide whether or not to move forward with a particular wealth management candidate.
A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is a type of financial firm that can provide invaluable services and counsel for managing and potentially growing your wealth. However, the cost of compensation must be considered when evaluating advisors.
This article discusses the following topics:
There are three common ways in which financial advisors are typically paid: commissions, fees, and salaries.
Commissions are payments made to an advisor based on the products they sell. For example, if an advisor sells you a mutual fund with a front-end load, they may receive a commission equal to a percentage of the money invested. Commissions can also be earned on transactions, such as buying or selling securities. The biggest potential drawback for commissions may be the possibility of conflicts of interest (which we’ll get into later in more detail).
Fees, meanwhile, are another way financial advisors can be compensated. Some firms may charge an hourly rate for their services, while others charge a flat fee or a percentage of your assets under management (AUM). For example, an advisor who charges 1% of AUM will receive $1,000 in fees if they manage $100,000 on behalf of a client. Fees are charged quarterly.
Finally, some financial advisors are salaried employees of larger firms. These firms may also earn revenue from commissions and fees, as described above. Salaried advisors may have performance-based incentives. In other words, they may receive bonuses if they meet certain asset growth targets their firm sets.
The header above is slightly misleading. For multiple reasons, there isn’t a standard cost or fee common to all wealth management. In fact, the exact cost of retaining the wealth management services of a registered investment advisor can vary both from firm to firm and with the size of your AUM.
That’s not the only determining factor, however: The size of your portfolio and the variety of services you’re seeking often contribute, as well. Similarly, fees charged by a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ may exceed those charged by a (less-certified) financial coach.
When in doubt, make sure that you shop around until you find an RIA that seems most likely to fulfill your unique financial needs. Some may appear more affordable than others, but this may be because the higher-priced options are better accredited to accommodate your needs.
A conflict of interest arises when a financial planner has a financial incentive to recommend a particular course of action that is not solely in the client’s best interest. For example, a conflict of interest may exist whenever a financial planner could receive commissions for selling specific products, such as insurance policies or investment products if incentives are being offered by the product company.
Brokers and advisors who sell financial products for a commission fall under the Suitability Rule. This was put in place to ensure that financial professionals perform some form of due diligence on an investor’s risk tolerances, time horizons, and liquidity needs. This rule was enacted to prevent brokers from recommending unsuitable financial products to various types of individuals.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires advisors within a registered investment advisor to disclose all material conflicts of interest to their clients. Additionally, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a financial industry organization, requires brokers and dealers to disclose all material conflicts of interest.
Transparency is critical in investment management. Your money manager should be upfront and honest about all aspects of their business, from how they are compensated to their strategies to protect, nurture, and potentially grow your wealth. They should also be willing to answer any questions in a timely and professional manner.
Integrity is another essential quality to look for when interviewing candidates to oversee your wealth. You should look for financial advisory firms who are fiduciaries. This is the essence of what a firm’s fiduciary duty means. Fiduciary RIAs are held to a strict code of ethics and are required by law to disclose any conflicts of interest.
As a fiduciary registered investment advisory firm, we can provide objective advice tailored exclusively to your needs and goals. This means finding the most effective ways to save, grow, and manage your money.
Once you know your goals and best interests, you can start aligning with them. For example, let’s say your goal is to retire as soon as possible: You’ll need to make sure that you’re saving as much money as possible, investing it in ways to potentially grow your nest egg (while resisting the wear and tear of inflation and market volatility).
Reviewing your investments regularly can also help keep you on track and help you make adjustments as needed. ViaWealth LLC is a registered investment advisor whose services scale to your needs. Schedule a free appointment to find out more.
ViaWealth, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. Information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities or other types of investments. Investing in the securities markets involve risk of principal and unless otherwise stated, returns are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before making any financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.