10 Signs You Need to Dump Your Financial Adviser

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Perhaps you’ve used the same financial adviser for many years, maybe even your parent’s favorite firm. Why should you consider changing firms?
Here are a few reasons, according to four financial advisers interviewed for this story:

Tips from Carla Morris, financial adviser, Edward Jones, Rochester:

1.  “One of the signs you need a new adviser would be if your account has always closely followed the S&P 500. Maybe you should ask some questions. You don’t want to be 100 percent invested in that market. If that takes a hit, so will your account. You should have a little in every bucket, according to your risk tolerance and life stage. If the market crashes, I say, ‘Which market?’ You should have many markets represented in a portfolio.

2.  “How long has it been since you’ve spoken to them? Do they only call when the market is going well? You should have at least an annual discussion, not just when the market goes well.

3.  “If you can’t get a response back in 24 to 48 hours, that’s a concern. That’s your hard-earned money. If you have a life or job change, that’s something that would be a concern. You should have some sort of proactive contact. It shouldn’t always be you calling to ask questions. They should talk with you about the market outlook or the quarter in review.”

Tips from Diana Apostolova, financial consultant and retirement planning specialist with AXA Advisors, Rochester

4.“There could be several reasons, from personality to performance and anywhere in between. No trust, no commitment to you and your goals, no proper handling of your investments and financial affairs, lack of or very limited financial education.

5.  “The bottom line is if you’re not happy and you don’t see anything changing in the near future, you may want to explore your options based on what’s best for you.

Tips from Bryce Carey, partner and certified financial planner, NorthLanding Financial Partners, Rochester

6.  “We hear a few common things when clients contact us, like service, performance and the most common we run into is the death of a spouse or loved one. It’s often a reflection point where people reassess their financial situation and find it useful to start fresh with a new financial adviser. Most of our clients are shifting from accumulating savings to using savings and they need a financial adviser that can help them develop a financial strategy.

7.  “If a person is questioning the different services the adviser is recommending, the financial adviser may not be doing a good job in explaining the services.

8.  “Lack of service is often a reason someone should consider leaving their adviser. If they don’t have a set service schedule in place, there could be questions about the next review meeting or financial plan analysis should happen. If a person is questioning the different services the adviser is recommending, the financial adviser may not be doing a good job in explaining the services.”

Tips from Scott Klatt, senior partner, certified financial planner, NorthLanding Financial Partners, LLC, Rochester

9.  “Sometimes, people question the value of the relationship in paying for the financial adviser that they’re working with. You need to be able to communicate with the adviser.

10 “Performance. If accounts are under-performing, you need to be able to judge what that means.”