Basic Information

  • Company Name
  • Website Address
  • Business Address

Regulatory/Criminal Background

  • Are you currently charged with or have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • Have you ever been fined, censured, or suspended from any regulatory body?
  • Have you ever had a professional license suspended or revoked?
  • Have you, or any organization over which you have exercised control, ever been the subject of a governmental agency or self-regulatory inquiry or investigation (other than a routine audit)?
  • Have you ever been terminated for cause or permitted to resign in lieu of discipline when the cause of the termination or resignation involved allegations relating to compliance, honesty or ethical considerations?
  • Have you ever been or are you currently the subject of a written complaint that led to an investigation by an employer or other entity?
  • Have you, or an organization in which you had material participation, ever filed a petition for bankruptcy?
  • Are you currently charged with or have you been convicted of a misdemeanor (other than minor traffic violations) within the last five years?

Professional Background

  • Are you a representative of or associated with
    • Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)
    • Investment Advisor Representative (IAR)
    • Registered Representative of a Broker Dealer (BD) firm
    • Licensed insurance agent/broker
    • None of the above
  • Which of the following designations do you have:
    • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
    • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
    • Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
    • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
    • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
    • Enrolled Agent (EA)
    • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
    • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
    • Other (Specify)
  • What is the highest education degree you have earned?
    • High school diploma
    • Associate’s degree
    • Bachelor’s degree
    • Master’s degree (Specify)
    • Doctorate degree (Specify)

Professional Experience

  • How many years have you been in the investment advisory business?
    • Less than 1 year
    • 1-5 years
    • 6-10 years
    • 11-15 years
    • 16-20 years
    • Greater than 20 years
  • How long have you been a financial planner?
    • Less than 1 year
    • 1-5 years
    • 6-10 years
    • 11-15 years
    • 16-20 years
    • Greater than 20 years
  • In which areas will you provide advice and service:
    • Financial planning
    • Investment management
    • Tax planning
    • Estate planning
    • Cash-flow planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Asset protection
  • Which three areas do you feel you are most qualified in: (Select up to three options)
    • Retirement plan investment advice
    • General financial planning
    • Investment management
    • Cash flow/budgets/credit issues
    • Charitable giving – trusts & foundations
    • College/Education planning
    • Estate & generational planning issues
    • Insurance related issues, including annuities
    • Alternative or private investments
    • Real estate investments
    • Retirement planning & distribution rules
    • Socially responsible investments
    • Tax planning
    • Business planning (taxes, succession, etc.)
    • Financial psychology/coaching
    • Other
  • Provide an explanation of your expertise in these areas:
  • Are you a fiduciary to your clients at all times?
  • What distinguishes you from other financial advisors?
  • What investment or planning advice you provided a client are you most proud of?
  • What is a good description of your typical ideal client? What characteristics does the client have?
  • Do you provide a written agreement that details the services that will be provided, as well as the fees, in advance of an engagement?

Firm Information

  • How many people are there in your firm?
    • 1-2
    • 3-10
    • 10-25
    • 25+
  • Will I be working directly with you or are there other advisors and/or support staff I will be working with as well?
  • How much does your firm have in assets under management?
    • Not applicable
    • <$25 million
    • $25 million – $50 million
    • $50 million – $100 million
    • $100 million – $1 billion
    • >$1 billion
  • Do you have minimums for assets, account size, or annual fees paid?
    • If so, please explain:
  • Do you or a related party have an ownership or financial interest in the entity that houses my account?
  • In which of the following do you or the firm you work for have ownership and/or a financial interest:
    • Broker Dealer
    • Custodian
    • Clearing Agent
    • None of the above
  • Will I receive account statements on my accounts from an independent third-party custodian that is in no way associated, controlled, managed, or owned by you, a related party, or the firm you work for?


  • What are the sources of your compensation:
    • Fees directly from clients (e.g., flat fees, hourly fees, asset under management fee)
    • Commissions from investments (e.g., 12-(b)(1) fees, loads, finder’s fees, placement fees, etc.)
    • Commissions from insurance products (e.g., life insurance, annuities)
    • Referrals fees
    • Bonuses, rewards, prizes from your firm for sales goals
  • Do you recommend funds with front or back-end loads?
  • Do you charge separately for your financial planning service and your portfolio management service?
  • How much do you charge for a typical financial plan?
    • No fee
    • <$500
    • $501 – $1,000
    • $1,001 – $2,000
    • $2,001 – $5,000
    • >$5,000
  • For a typical client with $1 million of investable assets, approximately how much would you charge?
    • 1.25%+
    • 1% – 1.25%
    • 0.90% – 0.99%
    • 0.80% – 0.89%
    • <0.80%
  • If applicable, please provide a current fee schedule for your service

Investment Management & Financial Planning

  • Which types of investments do you typically recommend:
    • Individual stocks
    • Individual bonds
    • Mutual funds / ETFs
    • Annuities
    • REITs
    • Limited partnerships
    • Options
    • Futures
  • What investment style or methodology do you typically employ?
  • How do you choose and evaluate investments?
  • What are your sources of information on performance and risk?
  • Do you have a preference for active or passive management?
  • Will you provide investment advice on all of my assets even if you don’t manage them directly (e.g. 401k)?
  • Will you provide consolidated reporting on these assets as well?
  • Do you advise on insurance matters, taxes, retirement planning, etc.? Do you help implement (e.g., buy insurance, prepare tax returns)? Please explain the extent of your financial planning advice and implementation.

Relationship Management

  • How frequently would we meet?
    • Once a quarter
    • Twice a year
    • Once a year
    • Less frequently than once a year
  • On average, how quickly do you return phone calls and emails?
    • Less than 5 hours
    • 5-10 hours
    • 11-24 hours
    • 24 hours or more
  • How many clients do you have?
    • Less than 20
    • 20-50
    • 51-100
    • 101-250
    • 250 or more

Final Thoughts

  • Please tell us anything else you think I should know about working with you.

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