If you lack the time or expertise to manage your money wisely, you may have considered the
services of a financial planner. While there are many qualified and conscientious financial
planners, the industry has attracted a number of swindlers because it is largely unregulated.
Over the years, fraud and abuse in the financial planning industry has netted a loss of
hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of investors, according to a studies by the North
American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
Before you choose a financial planner, ask questions about their experience and education.
Does he or she belong to a professional organization, such as the Institute of Certified
Financial Planners, the International Association for Financial Planning or the National
Association of Personal Financial Advisors? Learn about the membership requirements for the
organization and call to verify that the planner is indeed a member.
Look for a planner who has at least five years or more of previous experience as a broker,
insurance agent, accountant or lawyer. Ask how the planner keeps abreast of changes in the
investment world. Does he take advantage of continuing education and training?
Be wary if the planner guarantees high return, no risk investments. NASAA also warns against
planners who use exotic elements in their sales pitches such as an offshore bank, new topsecret
technology or inside information from Bay Street titans. To find out if the planner has a
history of securities violations, contact the Manitoba securities Commission. Also check with
your Better Business Bureau to find out if the planner has generated any complaints.