What is a Financial Advisor?
Whether you actually need an advisor depends on your own comfort level with making investment decisions, and how much time and resources you`re willing to dedicate to maintaining your investment portfolio, keeping up with the market, and just plain doing your homework.
If you decide you would like to engage the advice of a professional, consider the following guidelines will help you in your selection process:
Broker: An individual–licensed to sell securities–who acts as an intermediary between you and the companies and agencies that sell securities on the open market.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): An advisor who has passed a test–covering economics, accounting, security analysis, and money management–administered by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts.
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC): An advisor who has completed a program of economics, taxes, insurance, and investing.
Chartered Investment Council (CIC): An individual who has passed tests in economics, accounting, taxes, and money management and has at least five years of relevant work experience.
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU): An advisor who has completed training in life insurance and personal insurance planning, is licensed by his or her state, and appointed to sell insurance products by one or more specific insurance companies.
Registered Investment Advisor: An investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. No standardized test for certification is required.
Registered Representative: An advisor who is licensed to sell securities and has the legal power of an agent, having passed the Series 7 and Series 63 exams; usually works for a brokerage licensed by the SEC, NYSE, and NASD.