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How To Do a Background Check on Your Financial Advisor

B efore you make a major purchase – car, television, refrigerator – most likely you’ve done some extensive research to ensure you are making the right decision. One of the most important decisions that investors make is choosing the right financial planner to work with.

How to do a background check on your financial advisor

Surprisingly,  more than 70% of all investors do not do a background check on their broker before hiring them.  Say what?

Yes, approximately 1/3 of people that decide to work with a financial planner do not check the background of that person that they are getting ready to hand over their life savings to.

With the names of Madoff and Sanford making headlines, it’s even more important to at least double check your advisor’s background. It may not be a sure all prevention method, but you can easily find out if the advisor has had any prior wrong doings on his or her record.

To show you how how easy it is to get information on a financial advisor, I thought I would do a little experiment.   Today’s experiment is doing a background check on myself.  I’ll show you the different sources you can go to do various background checks and what information to look for.

Taking just a little bit of time can save you tens of thousands of dollars from going with an unscrupulous advisor. Yea, one of the seven kinds of financial advisors I would like to punch in the face.

First things first: the unfortunate thing of me doing this is that I have a bit of confession to


My real first name is not Jeff.*Gasp*

I know, I know.  You might be shocked.   As you can see if you do a background check on myself, my parents blessed me by naming me Jan Jeffrey Rose.   There is no family history behind the name, it was just one that they liked. (Thanks Mom and Dad…!)

Growing up I opted to go by my more masculine middle name, Jeff.   You don’t know how much of a pleasure it is to get phone calls from telemarketers asking for “Mrs. Jan Rose”.


Now that that is out in the open, we’ll continue.   That is a pretty good example of what information you’ll be able to find when doing a little homework on your financial advisor.

1.  Is Your Financial Advisor a Certified Financial Planner?

CFP Board Background Information

B efore choosing a financial planner, one thing you might want to consider is if they are a Certified Financial Planner™ professional.

Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP Board can display the CFP ®certification marks. CFP ®practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board’sCode of Ethics and Professional Responsibility,that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. 

By going to the CFP.net website, you can use their search tool to find out if the planner has had any disciplinary actions against them.

As you can see with me, I’m squeaky clean.  I would like to thank the CFP board for allowing to abbreviate my first name with an initial.  

Category: Advisor

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