From the Regulators

Online tool includes a sample script to help start a conversation with a financial advisor

By James Langton |

U.S. investors seeking services from a professional financial advisor will benefit from a free online tool, AARP Interview an Advisor, launched Wednesday by AARP and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

The online tool walks investors through the process of interviewing and hiring an advisor. Among other things, it covers an advisor's qualifications, compensation, and whether the advisor is required to act in clients' best interests.

The tool also includes a sample script to help start a conversation with a financial advisor.

"While registered investment advisors serve as fiduciaries who are required to provide advice that is in their clients' best interest, many other financial advisors operate under different requirements that obligate them only to make recommendations that are ‘suitable,'" says Jean Setzfand, senior vice president, programs, AARP, in a statement. "AARP's new interactive guide will help investors avoid confusion about a financial professional's standards and qualifications."

"Interview an Advisor provides guidance on the types of questions to ask an advisor and helps frame the discussion to empower investors in the selection process," adds Joseph Borg, president of NASAA and director of the Alabama Securities Commission. "At a minimum, we encourage investors to check out the background of a potential financial advisor with state regulators. Investors also should make sure they understand the products and services being offered and the fees they will be paying."