I am not getting into the legal part of who is a financial planner, who is a mutual fund distributor, etc. I am assuming that you have an individual who is helping you invest in direct shares or mutual funds or a combination of financial and real assets and you need to know what to ask him.

Here is an attempt to give you some direction….

  1. Why are you in this business – seriously this is a good one for a start!
  2. How long will you be in this business and what are your BCP – business continuity plans?
  3. If you drop dead what happens to my portfolio?
  4. Is my risk profile similar to your other clients?
  5. Is my risk profile similar to yours?
  6. Will your portfolio look somewhat like mine after we finish investing?
  7. Have you had any brush with any regulatory authority?
  8. Do you deal in all asset classes or are you restricted?
  9. Do you deal in shares or mutual funds – and do you favor one over the other?
  10. Do you use Technical analysis for shares? (beware a Yes means he is a trader, not an investor)
  11. Do you advise on taxes, wills, retirement planning, budgeting, borrowing, health and life insurance?
  12. What in your past – education or experience makes you competent to be in this business?
  13. What proof can you show that you have achieved success for your clients?
  14. Can I talk to some of your clients?
  15. Do you consider yourself financially successful?
  16. What returns do your clients get on their portfolio – give me high, low, mean, median and mode.
  17. What returns do you think my portfolio will give?
  18. What books on investment will you recommend?
  19. How will I compensate you?
  20. If there is a conflict of interest will you tell me and find a way to sort it out?

Just indicative…..there could be more…

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