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Changing advisers is not changing your plan

Published 9:36pm Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Arie J. Korving

Because money is such a personal thing, the relationship between an investor and his or her adviser can be something like a marriage. Or at least a pretty strong engagement. But like some relationships, they are not always made in heaven. It’s estimated that as many as 25 percent of investors are dissatisfied with their current financial adviser. Female investors and high net worth investors are the most dissatisfied.

Luckily, getting rid of an adviser you’re unhappy with is a lot easier than getting a divorce or leaving a lover. If you’re not sure your financial adviser is providing the service, advice and support you deserve, looking around for a replacement begins by getting a second opinion about your portfolio. The responses you get from potential new advisers will tell you if you have found someone that is more suited to your needs.

Studies have shown that when dealing with an adviser, it isn’t investment performance that causes client dissatisfaction. It’s the relationship. Here’s the acid test: do you feel good after you’ve had a conversation with your financial adviser or do you feel uncomfortable? Was your adviser listening to you and was he sensitive to your concerns? Were you being talked down to by an adviser using jargon, or terms you were not familiar with? When the adviser calls you, is it for the purpose of making a sale? Is his focus on your money or is it on you and your goals? A real adviser’s focus is on the client as a person, the portfolio is a tool that helps the client achieve his or her objective.

Changing a personal relationship is rarely easy. On the other hand, moving on to a new adviser is quite easy. You don’t have to talk with your current adviser or even let them know what’s going on. Once you find someone you like better, the rest is easy and quite painless.

Once you find someone new, your new adviser will lead you through the transfer process and show you exactly what to do. He will prepare a few forms for you to sign. The rest is automatic. Your new adviser and his custodian — the brokerage firm that will hold your investments for safekeeping — will monitor the transfer to make sure it goes smoothly.

If you wish to send your old adviser a gracious letter after the transfer process is started, feel free, but it’s not necessary as part of the transfer process.

There is a new website, www.firemyadvisor.com, that will provide you with a brochure on how to do this.

Arie Korving is a life-long financial adviser and the founding principal of Korving & Company, Suffolk. For more information, visit www.korvingco.com or call 638-5494.

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