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Working with a fully independent financial advisor can be a bit different than working with a large financial institution. There are some fundamentals which apply to both financial relationships; however, working with an independent financial advisor has a few aspects an investor may find of value. Both types of professional financial relationships, either with a large financial institution or an independent financial advisor, share the following:
Regulation: Both types of financial professionals must have appropriate registrations. Both solicit and receive compensation for their work. These regulations require they be registered with a brokerage firm. Both professionals have to complete annual continuing education programs and have compliance inspections and reviews by the brokerage firm where their registrations are held.
Offering Investment Products: Both types of investment professionals offer investment products and services (insurance, financial planning, retirement accounts) that are approved to be sold by their brokerage firm. This in no way assures the performance of a particular investment or implies any guarantee of performance.
Some of the differences in working with an independent financial advisor over a financial professional at a large firm could include:
Independent financial professionals tend to have flexibility in how they can charge for their services. Even though they may offer the same financial products as a larger firm, they may have flexibility in how they can charge commissions or asset management fees. The flexibility may offer a client some savings in asset management fees or different breakpoints in which fees may be reduced by the amount of assets under management.
Many (not all) independent advisors have access to different investment products and are not held to a particular firm’s product line. From mutual funds to stocks, having the full range of companies and funds to choose from provides for many combinations of strategies and diversification.
There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.