10 Questions to Determine if Your San Francisco Bay Area Financial Advisor Is a Trustworthy Expert or a Fumbling Automaton
You can read about ultra-high net worth financial advisors until the end of time. Well more has been written than you could ever consume. But really, what is this really about?
It’s about finding a trustworthy expert.
That’s it. All you need is someone you can trust with your eight, nine or ten-figure portfolio, and who will optimize your performance for the rest of your life. If you have between $5 million and $500 million and want the fast track, this free guide will be of great help to you in choosing the best financial advisor for your family.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
How else do you find that person? How can you know if a wealth manager has those two essential qualities? What follows will hopefully answer that question. And by the time you reach the end, you’ll be able to take action immediately to find out if Walnut Creek-based Pillar Wealth Management is the trustworthy expert you’re looking for.
Can I Trust You with My Ultra High Net Worth Portfolio?
To evaluate the trust-factor in a potential financial advisor, you must first take the extraordinary step of talking to them. Trust is not something that most people associate with the internet, and for good reason.
So if you try to pick advisors based purely on websites, social media, marketing, and what you read, you’ll never feel like you’re quite ‘ready.’
The reason isn’t because you haven’t come across a trustworthy advisor. It’s because you haven’t spoken to any of them.
Trust comes from communication. From questions and answers. From values discussed. From explanations. From processes. From track records. You must talk to a few wealth managers before you will fully trust them. After a couple conversations, ask yourself these six questions.
Do They Have a Passion for the Work?
This overlooked quality is a primary trust-indicator. Passion relates to motives. If, when talking with a potential advisor, you feel like you’re being taken through a flow chart and that perhaps a robot might be able to speed up the process, that’s a good sign this advisor isn’t personally motivated by and fascinated with growing wealth through smart investment planning.
This stuff should captivate them. They should love talking about it. If they don’t, what’s to stop them from switching careers and abandoning all their clients in a few years, or quitting when the economy hits the skids?
Are They Persistent?
Persistence is different from pressuring. We’re not talking about feeling pressured. Persistence relates to their commitment to your maximum satisfaction through what they can do for you.
A persistent advisor stops at nothing until his or her clients are content, pleased, and at ease with regard to their lifestyle and finances. Before you work with that sort of advisor, this might mean they keep calling to see if you’ve decided to work with them or not.
The persistent advisor isn’t doing that just because they want to make a sale. The persistent advisor calls you because he is thrilled with the prospect of helping another person optimize their performance and finances, and make smart decisions that will produce a gratifying lifestyle for them and their family.
Pressure tactics look different. The main difference is that a pressuring advisor doesn’t listen. You voice a concern, and they brush it aside or try to argue why that doesn’t matter. Your concerns matter. A persistent advisor will look for solutions. A pressuring advisor will try to dismiss or minimize them to get your business.
Do You Get Along?
This is very important. Even an expert advisor who gets results might not be right for you if you just don’t get along. Here especially, the only way to know is to talk to them a few times.
Do They Answer the Phone and Reply to Emails?
Sadly, in today’s world, this is not a given. But especially for an advisor who exclusively serves high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients, it should be.
This is basic professionalism, and anyone who manages eight, nine and ten-figure portfolios ought to care about their clients enough to have systems in place so communication always happens in a timely manner. Your emails and calls should be answered and returned within a day, without exception.
How do you determine this if you’re not working with the advisor yet?
This is yet another reason to start talking to them. More than once. Do they keep their appointments?
Test them out by asking a few questions over email before your appointment. See if they answer. Call them once to clarify something. See if they answer the phone. If not, leave a message. See if they call you back.
This is too important not to do. You verify trust by testing communication.
Pillar Wealth Management offers a free, no-strings-attached chat to get the conversation rolling. Reach out to schedule a time to chat with one of our experts.
Are They an Independent Fiduciary?
This may be your single greatest measure of verifiable trust. A fiduciary ultra-high net worth financial advisor is bound by their status as a Registered Investment Advisor to always act in your best interests, with no concern for their own.
No other standard besides this can instill greater trust in a potential advisor.
Do You Feel Confident about Your Future After Talking to Them?
This is the last trust question. If you leave your conversation feeling hopeful, positive, empowered, knowledgeable, and taken care of, that’s a good indication you have found a trustworthy ultra-high net worth financial advisor.
Have a Conversation with an Ultra High Net Worth Advisor Now
Why wait? You can’t make any decisions until you trust someone. And you can’t trust without communicating. So start your process today by talking to Pillar Wealth Management. It’s easy to schedule a chat with one of our wealth management experts.
For a couple bonus points, an advisor with decades of experience and numerous happy clients is probably even more trustworthy.
Happy clients generally indicate strong results, which is the second key criteria you’re looking for in a high net worth advisor.
Does Your Advisor Get Superlative Results?
This one can be a little bit trickier than ascertaining trust. That might surprise you at first. Can’t we just see some samples of what you’ve done for clients?
Actually… no, not specifically. The law discourages financial advisors from sharing results earned with other clients, and from using testimonials. We’re not allowed to make promises about performance.
So how do you determine if a potential advisor will earn the results you need to live a fulfilling lifestyle and a gratifying retirement?
The good news is, the best place to do this is in the same conversations you’ll be having to verify trust. Yes, you can kill two birds with one stone.
So what are you looking for in those conversations? Here are four helpful questions:
Are They Realistic about What’s Possible?
This is the easiest one to spot. Potential advisors should not be making outlandish promises. They shouldn’t give the sense that it’s ‘easy’ to get super-high returns. Likewise, they shouldn’t dismiss the very real challenges associated with investing. That’s a sign this person just wants your business.
They should understand that economic trends are complicated and always shifting. They should have an understanding of various investment options and the pros and cons of each. They should understand risk tolerance, and the symbiotic relationship between risk, performance, and security.
Do They Ask Good Questions?
The majority of your meetings – especially your first one or two – should be about you. They should ask you a lot of questions.
First, the obvious questions surround your actual finances. What money do you have, and where is it? What is your income? How long have you had your current job? What is your education? Questions like these are obvious, but important.
Beyond those, an ultra-high net worth advisor you would want to work with should ask about your goals. Goals can include things like retirement goals, college tuition goals for kids, philanthropic goals, end of life goals, and other things of that sort.
But goals also include lifestyle dreams and hopes. What kind of life do you want your wealth to make possible, from now through retirement to the end of your life? This is the big one. If they don’t ask you questions like this, and just stick to questions about desired rates of return and asset allocation, then that advisor doesn’t have your most important priorities at heart.
Performance cannot be separated from lifestyle and goals. Your portfolio funds your lifestyle. It does not exist separate from it.
Also, an ideal advisor would ask about concerns, fears, and uncertainties. What do you wonder about? What makes you nervous about your finances? What is most frustrating?
Look for questions like these in your early conversations, because that implies this advisor has a process for protecting your wealth so you can achieve those goals.
Can They Articulate Their Investment Process?
Next, and most important, you will get a sense of what results you can expect when you understand their investment process.
Do they have a process? Can they describe it clearly enough that you would be able to explain it to your spouse, or a parent? Or better yet – small children. The surest way you understand something is if you can put it in terms that a child can understand. Now, investing is inherently complex, so don’t take that one too far. But can you spell out the basics of this advisor’s process to an eight-year old?
Their explanation should be that good.
Does Their Process Inspire Confidence?
Lastly, how do you feel after understanding their process?
For ultra-high net worth investors, you are looking for someone who doesn’t just say they specialize in working with people like you. You’re looking for someone whose process is so uniquely tailored to high net worth portfolios that it wouldn’t be appropriate for someone with just $100,000 to invest.
Their process should be exclusive to people like you.
Pillar Wealth Management has developed an innovative process that combines 100 years of historical market data, your lifestyle and financial goals, your risk tolerance, long term performance projections based on all that, and 30 years of experience exclusively managing high net worth portfolios.
Our process is exclusively for high net worth and ultra-high net worth people who want financial serenity. This feeling of inner financial peace arises from the confidence that you can continue to live your life to the fullest measure of your deepest dreams and desires, and not have to think about money – for the rest of your life.
Our process is 100% customized to each individual, built on rock solid core values about finances and investment. See how it applies to your life and investments. We shun certain popular investment options other people chase after, like annuities, stock trading, and angel investing.
Want a Full Explanation of Pillar Wealth Management’s Process?
You should have a pretty solid grasp of what to look for in a financial advisor, but if you’d like to read a little more, check out this free ebook for more. Again, the best way to get started is to call. Nothing moves the ball faster down the field than starting the conversation.
Schedule a chat with one of our wealth management experts to get the conversation rolling.
But, if you’re still not quite ready for a talk, the next best thing is this free eBook: Outstanding Portfolio Performance: The Shifts To Financial Security And Serenity For Successful Multi-Millionaires.
This short eBook explains in clear detail how we achieve lifelong financial serenity for all our clients, and how our process is customized to each of them. It includes real-life examples of other high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors.
If you want to know how we get results before talking to us on the phone – Get the eBook now.