Who’s Responsible for What?
As a client, you should play an active role in understanding your investments.
When You Open an Account
Before your registered investment advisor first buys or sells an investment for you, they must provide you with information a reasonable client would think important about your relationship with them.
- Communicate clearly about your financial situation, investment goals, and risk tolerance and inform your investment advisor of any changes to this information.
- Ask questions until you fully understand each investment, including the fees and charges you will pay.
- Pay attention to the information you receive from your investment advisor – account-opening documents, research materials, transaction records, statements, and annual reports on investment performance and charges and compensation. Make sure the only transactions and charges on your statements are ones that you approved.
- Ask for a second opinion from another qualified professional, such as a tax accountant, lawyer, or certified financial planner if you’re unsure about an investment.
What a Registered Investment Advisor Must Do
- Understand your financial situation and risk profile.
- Understand the products they offer.
- Recommend suitable investments to you.
- Outline the risks involved.
- Spell out conflicts of interest that could interfere with their ability to give you the service you need.
- Provide information about the fees you pay, the performance of your investments, and the content of your account document.
Overall, they must deal with you fairly, honestly, and in good faith. Know that a good advisor won’t dodge your questions. It’s their job to explain things in a way that makes sense to you.
What Your Investment Advisor Will Not Be Able To Do
- Recommend investments that are always profitable.
- Act on vague or general buy-sell instructions.
- Get better returns than comparable investments.
- Predict market performance.