Let's start with competence. Many types of professionals call themselves a "wealth advisor." Attorneys, certified public accountants, insurance salespeople and professionals registered to sell securities (stocks, bonds, options, etc.), to name a few. There is no "wealth advisor" designation. Some professionals who refer to themselves as wealth advisors have obtained qualifications, such as Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Financial Consultant, to name a few.
A CFP has passed a series of exams on topics such as retirement planning and estate planning. Then, similar to a lawyer's bar, they must pass a comprehensive exam at the end. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority lists CFP and similar designations on its website and provides a brief summary of each.
If you're like many people in search of a wealth advisor, you talk to friends and family or allied professionals. Most people tell me they want someone who is trustworthy. Finra provides BrokerCheck, which allows you to look up the regulatory record for registered financial professionals. Many investors are unaware of the professional conduct of the person that they're working with. Regulatory issues do not necessarily mean expulsion from the industry. That is why it is important that you check your investment professional using BrokerCheck.
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You may or may not think that the firms that they work for have actually done this due diligence. However, if a professional provides the firm a lot of business, it may be in their interest to look the other way regarding certain historical violations.
A fiduciary is someone who keeps your interests ahead of their own. That's the relationship you have with your attorney and your doctor. Investment professionals with an investment advisor representative title work for you as a fiduciary. Professionals who become a CFP take an oath to work as a fiduciary, or risk losing their designee status. Many people prefer to work with someone who does have to keep their interests first. Should your advisor be forthcoming with that information, or should you find out after the fact?
The CFP Board of Standards also has its own website, where you can check out your professional or verify that he or she is a CFP. The Center for Fiduciary Studies, which confers the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation, also has a website to verify if your professional has met its standards.