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Picking the right investment broker requires research and patience. There are many investment brokers to choose from, but only by taking the time to do your due diligence will you find one who is professional and has your best interests in mind.
For starters, you should understand that, of course, an investment broker wants to make money. And when you use an investment broker, you’ll be paying for the products and services he provides. But a good investment broker (good for you, that is) will work with you to choose the best investments possible, answer any questions you have, and always be upfront and honest about any risks, fees and other details surrounding the investments you will be making.
You can make a more informed decision by looking for these three important criteria.
Check the background of the broker you are interested in. Just making sure that she is licensed doesn’t provide you with the full picture of how she has performed as an investment broker. Contact your state securities regulator to learn how to check the Central Registration Depository (CRD). This will enable you to see your broker’s disciplinary history, such as investor complaints or any disciplinary action taken by the SEC or other organizations.
How often will the broker be available to you? Investment brokers are busy, but professional and courteous brokers should make time for their clients. If you are planning on paying for ongoing investment management, you shouldn’t have to wait days for a phone call or email to be returned, and the broker should always take the time to explain all your options, ensuring you have a full understanding of the services he provides.
Different brokers will offer different types of services, and the fees will also vary. Knowing what services you can expect to be able to utilize from each broker, as well as how much you can expect to pay, should be disclosed upfront before you make a choice.
It is, of course, also important to have a good relationship with your investment broker. Take the time to meet in person with any broker you are interested so that you can get a feel for her personality. You’ll ultimately want to work with someone you are comfortable with, and meeting in person is the best way to see which investment broker is the right one for you.