A new advisory from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) aims to help raise investor awareness about fees charged by broker-dealer firms for account services and maintenance.

In the advisory, NASAA suggests investors focus on the timing, method and content of these sorts of fee disclosures. It calls on investors to not place assets with a firm without a current fee schedule, to ensure that they understand those fees, and to pay attention to any changes that firms make to those fees. Additionally, it says that investors should know the services that they could use regularly, and ask specifically about the terminology a firm uses for its services and the associated fees.

The advisory follows recent research from NASAA, which found that investors are often confused about brokerage service and maintenance fees. That research reported that these fees are important to investors, but that due to a lack of standardization and clarity in the disclosure of these fees, investors are often unaware of how much broker-dealers charge for the service and maintenance of the investment accounts.

“A key component of building financial literacy is understanding what you need to know and where to find it. This is especially important when it comes to understanding what services you are paying for and how much you are paying,” said William Beatty, NASAA president and Washington securities director.

“Savvy consumers know it is important to compare prices on similar products to get the best value for their money,” Beatty said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if the same were true when shopping for a broker-dealer firm to handle your investments?”