Advisor Quality Ratings

Determining the actual quality of financial advisors and firms can be extremely difficult:

  • Most advisors do not have mandatory disclosure requirements
  • Advisors do not publish track records that document past results
  • There is limited amounts of public data for advisors
  • Some advisors use sales tactics to convince you they are experts

Your biggest financial risk is bad advice when you invest your assets in the securities markets. Bad advice comes from two types of advisors and firms:

  • Competence: They do not have the knowledge to provide high quality advice
  • Ethics: They put their need to make money ahead of your need to achieve financial goals

How to Rate Quality

Follow these five steps to determine the quality of financial advisors:

  • Ask the right questions and know good answers from bad ones
  • Check all sources of public data (Paladin, FINRA, SEC, State)
  • Conduct Google name searches
  • Visit advisor websites
  • Require documentation for all key facts

Or, use Paladin Registry research reports to do  the work for you.

Data Gathering

Our comprehensive, online questionnaire gathers key facts from financial advisors and firms :

  • Credentials: Degrees, experience, certifications
  • Ethics: Licensing, registrations, compliance record, fiduciary status
  • Business Practices: Compensation, reporting, custodians
  • Services: Planning, investment, insurance, tax, legal

Public Data

Paladin research is conducted by experienced analysts who review public data at:

  • Regulatory agencies: FINRA, SEC, States
  • Review & Rating services: BBB, Yelp, Rip-Off Report 
  • Google name searches
  • Advisor websites 

Rating Quality

Your rating results should reflect what you are looking for - a competent financial advisor you can trust.

  • Advisors with more experience score higher than advisors with less experience
  • Advisors with top quality certifications should score the highest: CFA, CIMA, CFP, CPA, ChFC, CLU
  • Clean compliance records should be a minimum requirement
  • Financial fiduciaries are held to higher ethical standards 


It pays to trust what you see, not what you hear, when you rate the quality of a financial advisor or firm. Verbal information may also be a sales pitch. You should require documentation for all key facts so you have a permanent record. Documentation is key if there is a future dispute.

A Tip from Paladin.....

Determining the quality of advisors takes some work on your part. But a little time now, can produce big benefits later.


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