Are You Unhappy With Your Advisor?

By: Susan L. McGee, RFC®, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Consultant
With everything going on with the economic recovery and the markets, the last thing you need right now is a financial advisor who doesn’t understand the “big picture” when it comes to your wealth management and financial planning strategies. It’s about more than just increasing the size of your portfolio when markets are good and managing investment risk when they’re not – and if your financial needs are not being met beyond just making money, it may be time to look for a new advisor.

Unhappy with Your Advisor?
GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM AND FIXING IT
With more and more people investing money in the markets these days, financial advisors have become increasingly aggressive and competitive in trying to capture your business. If you’re unhappy in your current relationship with your advisor, likely there’s more than one reason this is the case.

Maybe you’re not comfortable with your advisor’s recommendations because you’re not confident in his or her knowledge in a particular area, or maybe you don’t have as much time to devote to your investments as you’d like. Either way, it’s important that your financial advisor thoroughly explains recommendations in a language you can understand, presents thoughts and ideas aligned with your goals, and recommends strategies that are in your best interest.

Why Do Investors Switch Advisors?

If not, he or she may not be the right financial professional for you. Answering the following five questions may help you find an investment advisor who is a better fit for your circumstances, lifestyle, and long-term financial goals – regardless of where you are in your life’s journey.

1. HOW WELL DOES THE ADVISOR UNDERSTAND YOUR FINANCIAL AND LIFE GOALS?
An advisor who is a financial partner will work to take into account your big picture and strive to help you stay on track and adjust to life as the market changes. Your advisor should take the time to listen to your vision and goals, ask detailed questions about your fears and concerns, and find out what matters most to you and your loved ones. If an advisor is more focused on beating an index than understanding your personal circumstances band reaching your future goals, you may want to keep looking.

2. HOW ACCESSIBLE IS THE ADVISOR?
Getting answers to your questions in a timely fashion is important. If an advisor only communicates once a year via email or is not readily accessible to meet with you (and/or your spouse/partner) in person or virtually, that’s a red flag. Work with someone who is responsive and has an informed supporting team who can address your questions in the event the advisor is unavailable.

3. WILL THE ADVISOR MEET YOUR CHANGING NEEDS OVER TIME?
Your world is different today than it was ten years ago, and it will be different in another ten years. That is why it’s important that your advisor periodically reviews your investment plan and recommends updates based on changes in the market and in your life. It’s also helpful to work with an advisor who offers access to a broad range of financial services – that meet your needs today and in the future.

4. WILL YOU RECEIVE INVESTMENT SOLUTIONS THAT MEET YOUR NEEDS?
Some investment firms, and advisors, promote off-the-shelf investment solutions designed to accommodate the needs of large groups of investors. These programs may not meet your unique asset allocation and diversification needs. Look for an advisor who will take into account your income needs, tax situation, time horizon, risk tolerance, and financial goals.

5. HOW IS THE ADVISOR COMPENSATED?
While financial advice shouldn’t be free, an advisor should be transparent about how he or she is being paid. Investment professionals can be compensated in a variety of ways, including commission on each transaction or agreed upon fees. When looking for a new advisor, don’t hesitate to ask questions about his or her investment strategies, how they play into getting results for your investments, and what services you receive for what you pay in commissions or fees. For example, will your advisor be able to provide comprehensive wealth management beyond investment advice, e.g., banking, trust, and wealth planning services? Keep in mind an objective advisor will make decisions based on your financial needs, not theirs.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU SEE THE ‘BIG PICTURE’
At the end of the day, you should feel confident that you have selected a capable, knowledgeable advisor who will team up with you to help identify your goals, create an investment plan, and manage your financial affairs. Your relationship should be based on a clear understanding of applicable fees and the scope of consolidated services such as estate planning, tax planning, accounting, trust and estate administration, and private banking services.

Finally, you’ll want to benefit from the collaboration of professional specialists, including a portfolio manager and personal administrator, to guide you through the numerous ways you can achieve your financial objectives and empower you to make educated financial decisions based on your unique personal and financial circumstances. For more information, contact Commerce Trust Company today.

¹Spectrem Group Research Study, “It’s About More Than Money: Why Investors Switch Advisors, https://spectrem.com/Content/more-than-money.aspx, accessed June
30, 2021.

The opinions and other information in the commentary are provided as of August 4, 2021. This summary is intended to provide general information only, and may be of value to the reader and audience.
This material is not a recommendation of any particular investment or insurance strategy, is not based on any particular financial situation or need, and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified tax advisor or investment professional. While Commerce may provide information or express opinions from time to time, such information or opinions are subject to change, are not offered as professional tax, insurance or legal advice, and may not be relied on as such.
Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.
Commerce Trust Company is a division of Commerce Bank.
NOT FDIC INSURED | MAY LOSE VALUE | NO BANK GUARANTEE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan McGee
Susan McGee, RFC® Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Consultant Commerce Trust Company 
Susan is a wealth management consultant for Commerce Trust Company. She facilitates the introduction of our prospective clients to a comprehensive service team which includes private banking, investment management, trust administration, and financial planning. Susan provides an integrated and seamless client experience as we partner with clients to meet their long-term goals and objectives.

She joined Commerce in 1980 and became a trader of fixed income securities in the capital markets group in 1981. Susan then joined Commerce Trust Company in 1993 as a business development officer for personal trust, investment management, IRA rollover, and custodial accounts. Prior to joining Commerce Trust Company, Susan traded taxable fixed income securities and served as manager of the taxable fixed income trading desk for Commerce Bank’s Capital Markets Group.

Susan completed the certified financial planning course through the University of Missouri-Kansas City Block School of Business in 2002 and was awarded the Registered Financial Consultant designation in 2016. She earned her Bachelor of Science in business administration from Southern Methodist University in 1980. She was the 2006 recipient of Commerce Bank’s Chairman’s Sales Excellence award for expanding customer relationships.