BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV)- Question: I have been looking for a new advisor and think I have found one I may like. Unfortunately I noticed he does not have many professional credentials, should I be worried?
Answer (John Halterman, Beacon Wealth Management): "Hey Lily, there’s no doubt about it, professional credentials are a big deal. Especially if this person runs a solo practice where they are the primary advisor.
You have to know what they specialize in. You have to make sure they have the expert knowledge you need for your individual situation. I know for a lot of people, you’re talking about your lifetime savings. Absolutely, look at those professional credentials.
Now if it is a team, like our office is run as a team where we have a lot of people servicing the needs of the individual client. In that type of situation you don’t necessarily have to worry about the one advisor in particular, but the whole team of advisors and all of the team credentials that they may have."
Question: What are some of the credentials she should look for?
Answer (John Halterman, Beacon Wealth Management): "I think there are a couple things. You have to look at the professional designations. Professional designations tell people what people's specialties are, whether they are a certified financial planner, whether they are someone like myself who is a certified wealth strategist, a certified estate planner, an accredited investment fiduciary.
There are a whole bunch of different designations, but it’s all going to boil down to what their specialty is. Whether they specialize in comprehensive planning, or whether they specialize in just some of the most basic things.
The second thing you’re going to have to look at is the type of professional license they have. A lot of times when you talk to financial people, sometimes you’re talking to someone who just has their insurance license. Sometimes you’re talking to someone who is just security licensed, or someone who may only be with a registered investment advisory firm.
I love to see a person licensed with all three. That way the client is not limited and has options they can choose from and that they always put the fiduciary interest of the client first. When you’re limited in your license, then you’re going to have a tendency to lean toward a certain area, which is absolutely wrong for the client’s situation."