Avoiding Bad Investment Firms
The sort of investment firm that you will want to avoid is the one that offers you lots of value. Value can be measured by how well your investment performs as well as how much it costs to obtain the investment. A lousy firm will offer you inferior investment vehicles and charge you an arm or an a leg to utilize them. Most of the problems with investment brokers arise when they pay their representatives commissions on the products they sell. Too many conflicts of interest arise and can make you get less than you would have at a more reputable firm.
Don’t be fooled by those that bill themselves as financial planners or financial consultants. It is likely the case that they work on commission and they are just trying to get you to invest as much as you can as many times as you can. This is because the more your investment is worth, and the more transactions you rack up, the more they earn in commission fees. They are in fact investment salespeople. They probably work for a large brokerage firm
All good investments can be bought on a no-load basis which means you don’t pay any commission fees. When you are working with a salesperson rather than a proper advisor there is no way you will get unbiased investment advice, unless they are trying to get fired or are your personal friend. A no-load mutual fund is a prime example of an investment that can be bought without paying a commission. Find an advisor that can recommend one of these to you and has no problem performing the transaction for you.
If you find that you’re unsure about any investment vehicle that is presented to you, and even if you are sure, you’ll want to request a copy of the prospectus. On one of the first pages it will list whether or not the investment involves any sort of commission that’s paid. It might be called a load. While the salesperson might be able to use a title and clever phrasing to disguise whether a fee is paid, the prospectus is required to have it stated simply and clearly.
The range of investment commissions varies widely. That’s why it’s hard to know who you can trust and who you can’t when it comes to investment advice. When you go to get advice from brokers, consultants, and financial planners you should have an idea of what they make. If you have $20,000 to invest and choose an annuity they’ll get around $1,400. If you choose to go with a load mutual fund they will get $1,200. This gives them a big incentive to put you into these sort of products and not charge by the hour.