Choosing a Professional

When you need financial help, you can turn to an investment professional or team of professionals. These professionals may be brokers, investment advisers, certified public accountants, lawyers, insurance agents or financial planners. And they may work in many different settings, from large firms to small private practices. In some cases, your bank may have a separate investment department that employs investment professionals.

Couple with Broker

Ask and Check

There are smart investors. And then there are smarter investors. The difference? Just a few questions—and a little homework.


Understanding Investment Professional Designations

Before you engage an investment professional, make sure you know more about an investment professional than just their name and professional designation.

FINRA BrokerCheck

BrokerCheck is a free tool to help investors check the backgrounds of investment professionals and firms. It should be the first resource you turn to when choosing whether to start or continue doing business with a broker or firm.

Banned Agents and Advisers

The Military Personnel Financial Services Protection Act of 2006 requires the Department of Defense to maintain a list of insurance agents and financial advisers who have been banned from soliciting business on military installations. To see the latest list, visit Military Homefront’s Reports Page, and select "Personal Commercial Solicitation Report."

Resolving Disputes

FINRA operates the largest dispute resolution forum in the securities industry to assist in the resolution of monetary and business disputes between and among investors, securities firms and individual registered representatives.

Hiring a Financial Pro? Ask Questions.

When choosing an investment professional, you should interview candidates to learn important information about them, like their experience, qualifications and fees. Here are some questions you should ask them—and some questions they may have for you.

Additional Resources

Finding a Broker and Brokerage Firm
There is more to finding a broker than knowing which ones might not be trustworthy. The key is finding the broker and brokerage firm that make you feel comfortable and best meet your personal financial needs.

Working With Your Investment Professional
Everyone hopes to have a financially rewarding relationship with their broker. These steps can help.