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Client Rights and Your Financial Advisor

Financial AdvisorSometimes we forget that when we hire a service provider, like a financial planner, we have certain client rights that should be met.  This is especially true with people who handle your finances and personal information.    It is perfectly acceptable to ask potential planners for a copy of their client rights.  Most professional planners will have them written and ready to give to you.  When reviewing them you may want to make sure that the following rights are covered:

Integrity – You have the right to work with a financial planner who is honest, professional, and is working with your best interest in mind at all times.

Personal Service – You have the right to be treated professionally and to receive personal, courteous service from your planner, and their staff, at all times.

Objective Advice – You have the right to always received advice that is in your best interest and is not given for the financial gain of the planner.

Communication – You have the right to be able to openly and honestly communicate with your planner about any concerns you may have with the services being provided.  You also want to make sure that your planner feels that he also has the right to communicate to you any concerns he may have.

Competency – You have the right to a competent financial planner.  It is up to you to ask the right questions during the interview process and it is up to the planner to answer them honestly.  Always make sure to check references, experience and training.

Privacy – You have the right to feel secure that your personal information will be protected by the planner and anyone he works with.

Fairness – You have the right to be treated fairly in all proceedings and your planner also has the right to be treated fairly by you.

Conflict Resolution – You have the right to voice any concern you may have about errors or conflicts and to have a procedure in place in order to quickly and fairly work through any conflicts.

Information – You have the right to always have access to information about your account and to have all your questions answered in a timely manner.  You also have the right to be notified in a timely matter of any procedure changes or major financial changes concerning your account.

Documentation – You have the right to receive the proper documentation about your accounts, your fees and your options while working with a financial planner.

Back-Up Plan – You have the right to have a back-up plan in place with your financial planner in the event that your planner is no longer able to work with your account.

Your financial future is extremely important to you and should also be important to your planner.  Many of the rights listed above require you to be actively involved in the financial process with your planner and are just as much your responsibility as they are the planner’s.  Remember that working with a financial planner is a partnership that requires both sides to be open, honest and diligent.