A Toronto money management firm has come up with a novel way to get some attention: Help investors identify and fire bad advisers.
Hennick Wealth Management has produced four “blunt break-up cards” you can print and send to an adviser you want to fire. Silliness? Sure, a little. But there’s an element of practicality to this exercise. You should definitely look at Hennick’s list of traits of a bad adviser because they’re on the money. Here’s the list:
• Your adviser only calls once a year
• Your adviser says you don’t need a financial plan
• Your adviser doesn’t explain your investments in terms you understand
• Your adviser pushes products that you don’t want
• Your adviser never makes adjustments to your portfolio
• Your adviser won’t give you a straight answer when you ask what your annual rate of return is
After close to two decades of interaction with unhappy clients, I can vouch for these criticisms. Collectively, they come down to indifference to you as a client. Finding a better adviser is certainly worth a try, but here’s something the Hennick people don’t mention.
Advisers are generally more attentive to their wealthier clients. Some firms just aren’t interested unless you have well into six figures, and some may require $500,000 or more. If you’re talking to a new adviser, be upfront about how big your account is and ask if that’s enough to get contacted by your adviser more than once per year, to get a financial plan, to get comprehensive explanations of what you’re investing in and more.
It’s a major pain to change advisers, so it’s worth seeing if you can salvage your existing relationship. Schedule a meeting, tell your adviser what you want in terms of service and ask for a frank answer about whether it’s feasible. You may find you and your adviser mutually agreeing to call it quits.
Some in the advice business may see it as bad form for Hennick Wealth to be badmouthing advisers. Investors should say thanks. Self-promotional as the break-up cards are, they help investors understand the services that quality advisers provide. Quality advisers should support that.