Are you seeking a new financial services partner or representative?
Whether this is your first foray into the financial services world or you’re looking to change strategy after a period of below-expectations results, it’s important that you carefully weigh your options and choose a provider that fits your current needs and long-term plans.
As you embark upon your search, consider five elements that characterize effective financial services providers. While only you can determine your priorities, it’s crucial that you choose a partner in which you can have confidence.
- Expertise in Your Geographical Area
Align with a partner with local market expertise — and, if necessary, a deep roster of local contacts. If you own assets in multiple jurisdictions or do business across national borders, you’ll want to rely on a firm that can serve you wherever your activities take you — or, failing that, refer you to trusted local partners.
- Bespoke, Hands-on Service for a Variety of Client Types
Regardless of your specific needs, you deserve a financial services provider that offers bespoke, hands-on service for clients like you. Look for firms with high staff-to-client ratios and longstanding reputations for attentive service. Independent firms like Asia-Pacific based Asiaciti Trust generally excel in this area, though you’ll want to vet prospective partners individually to ensure proper fit.
- A Proven Record of Success With Comparable Clients
Investigate prospective partners’ prior track records to ensure that you’ll enjoy service that exceeds your expectations. The best way to evaluate a financial services firm’s performance without entering into an actual service contract with them is to speak with past clients whose needs and expectations resemble yours. Even if these clients compete directly with your own business, they may be willing to provide honest feedback about their own experiences on the expectation that you’ll do the same for them when the time comes.
- Commitment to Act as a Sworn Fiduciary
Absent relatively narrow extenuating circumstances, it’s almost always in your best interest to limit your search for financial services providers to sworn fiduciaries — providers that commit to acting in your best financial interest. If it’s not clear whether a given firm acts as a fiduciary, ask directly; it’s a simple yes-or-no answer.
- Transparency Around Fees and Expenses
Fees and expenses vary widely within the financial services industry. The hidden costs of hiring a financial planner, for instance, are very different than the hidden costs of retaining a registered investment adviser. But your approach must remain the same: to pin down prospective providers on their fees and expenses, and to avoid firms that prove unwilling to account for their pricing.
What Do You Look for in a Financial Services Partner?
Don’t feel constrained by the criteria on this list. Evaluating a financial services provider is a serious endeavor upon which, fate willing, you should have to embark only once in a great while.
To ensure that you have all the information necessary to make an informed choice that suits your needs and ensures an optimal outcome, you’ll want to cast as wide a net as practically possible. Remember to consult with trusted peers who’ve recently gone through this process, as well — they may alert you to hidden pitfalls and opportunities that you hadn’t previously considered.