Resources: Examining timely topics through an independent lens

Helping clients choose the right investment advisor

By Kevin Sheehan and Kristen Bauer

ResourcesThe impact of wealth, whether it arrives through the opportunistic sale of an operating business or a much-anticipated trust distribution, brings a wave of responsibility for any wealth owner or beneficiary. When managing and protecting these assets, the savvy wealth owner will come to understand the importance of partnering with the right set of advisors. Regardless of professional background, wealth owners and beneficiaries will need to lean on specialists for investment strategy along with estate, tax and philanthropic planning – all key elements for wealth preservation and optimization.

The one advisory discipline that is omnipresent in this wealth management challenge is that of the investment advisor. The investment advisor is involved in almost every aspect of wealth management and will directly impact the financial success or failure of a family’s overall wealth.

Choosing the right investment advisor is no trivial task. And it’s important to help current and prospective clients find their way through the process. A wide range of professionals, firms, specialties and industry acronyms becomes dizzying for even the seasoned wealth management professional. Clients find themselves sifting through registered investment advisors (RIAs), stock brokers, chartered financial analyst (CFAs), certified financial planner (CFPs), multi-family office professionals, wealth advisors, investment consultants, private bankers and trust officers.

While many wealth owners focus on an advisor’s background and expertise, they must place equal importance on the more abstract aspects of values and operating principles if they expect the advisor to align with the goals, values and principles of the owner, the beneficiary and their family. For many talented wealth owners, many of whom are self-made experts at building widgets or generating customer satisfaction in their own successful businesses, navigating today’s labyrinth of advisory roles, firms, products and markets takes them far afield from their comfort zone.

Here is a clear-headed framework of best practices to help clients select the right investment advisor, including qualitative and quantitative considerations, parameters for monitoring advisors and straight-forward guidance for those who must terminate an advisory relationship.

Read the entire whitepaper here: download PDF

Kevin Sheehan, CFP® is a Director, Wealth Advisory Services at Threshold Group, a multi-family office serving families and private family foundations.
Kristen Power Bauer, CPA, PFS, is Senior Wealth Advisor at Threshold Group, where she has served as client advisor and senior relationship manager for more than a decade.