“So by the time the client explores a second opinion, they can see they should have graduated from this very simple portfolio hundreds of thousands of dollars ago. That’s usually when they realize they’re in a fee-ridden portfolio. Therefore, it’s important that you know how your advisor is getting paid and whether that structure gives them the incentive to do a good job.”

Unaware of all the options

Many investors aren’t aware of their full range of options, Kearney says, adding that their advisors often aren’t either. “If you’re never offered any new ideas or strategies, such as lowering your taxes, reducing your mortgage payment or a long-term care alternative, that means your current advisor is probably stale, and they’re not interested in offering you proactive type service,” Kearney says.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all investment advisor when they can come from different fields – CPA’s, insurance agents, financial planners and attorneys. Each has different areas of focus. You should ask your advisor, ‘What are your capabilities outside of traditional asset allocation?’ ”

Lack of systems, communication

Wealthier clients with multiple financial pieces in motion notice when advisor contact is inconsistent. “There are a lot of people, even with multi-million dollar accounts, who think, ‘Maybe my account is just not big enough for my advisor to pay attention to me,’ ” Kearney says. “That’s usually not true. It’s just a matter of the advisor not having the right systems in place. It’s important to for an advisor to have a team with a point-of-contact person whom the investor can reach any time.”

“There comes a point when you know you’ve outgrown your advisor, but you don’t want that to be too far down the road,” Kearney says. “Before they get an advisor, or when looking for a new one, I think people really have to ask them, ‘Who is your typical client? Do you match my needs? Do you deal with a certain range of net worth and have minimums?’ People want to know if they’re working with an advisor that really understands them.”

This article was republished with permission from Value Walk.