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Always verify adviser's background.

Check out your adviser's employment history, disciplinary records, and registrations.

Investment advisers are licensed to give specific investment advice and owe their clients what is known as "fiduciary duty;" that is, offering clients advice in their "best interest."

Brokers, on the other hand, may merely execute suitable securities transactions for their clients. Understand the difference. Brokers are regulated by FINRA; investment advisers are regulated by the SEC and/or a state securities regulator; insurance agents by the state insurance commission in states where they do business; and certified financial planners by the CFP Board, the organization offering that certification.

Visit www.finra.org/brokercheck,www.adviserinfo.sec.gov,www.nasaa.org, www.naic.org and www.CFP.net/searchto check on your adviser.

Photo: www.finra.org