Paladin Registry 5 Stars

This advisor or firm is a vetted, documented member of the Paladin Registry.

This advisor or firm received a 5 Star quality rating from Paladin’s research department. Paladin analysts use a proprietary algorithm to rate the quality of financial advisor and firm credentials, ethics, business practices, and services.

Paladin provides free information services to investors who rely on planners and investment advisors to help them achieve their financial goals. Paladin is the only SEC registered firm that vets, validates, and documents the quality of financial professionals and firms (since 2003).

Paladin Research Report For:

Mark Harwanko

Black River Financial, LLC

Mark Harwanko, a financial fiduciary, has been a Paladin Registry member since 2018. certifications and has over 35 years of experience. Mark provides financial services to clients in the Chester, New Jersey area.


Part I provides a quick summary of this advisor’s credentials, ethical history, and business practices. See additional descriptive information in Parts IV through VIII of this research report.

A. Registry Member
  • Since 2018
B. Years of Experience
  • 35
C. College Degrees
  • Rutgers - MBA
  • University of Delaware - BSCE
D. Certifications
  • None
E. Financial Fiduciary
  • Yes
F. Business Philosophy
  • Read Business Philosophy

    Our philosophy is simple: Help our clients live more enjoyable lives by having better control over their finances. To that end, we offer advice and programs that can help you avoid poor financial decisions while potentially increasing your probability of success. Our core belief is: " WIN BY NOT LOSING"

G. Asset Requirement
  • $250,000

Contact Information

Part II provides general contact information

A. Key Contact
  • Mark Harwanko
B. Main Location
  • 1 Mill Ridge Lane, Suite 203
    Chester, New Jersey, 07930
C. Telephone
  • 908-375-7980


You should use the Internet to conduct your own online research for advisors before you select them:

  • Visit firm websites
  • Google search names (advisors, firms, owners of firms)
  • Check advisor compliance records at
  • View firm ADVs at
  • View social connections
  • Read articles that have been written by this advisor or firm
Tip: The information on the Internet is easy to access, you retain your anonymity while you conduct your research, and you will find information that helps you make the right decisions.

B. Social Connections


This part of the research report contains important information that describes an advisor’s relationship to various financial firms.

RIA (Registered Investment Advisor): This type of firm registration permits the advisor to provide financial advice and services for fees.

Broker/Dealer: This type of firm licenses representatives who sell financial products for commissions.

Relationship: The advisor may be an owner, employee, partner, or independent contractor.

Tip: Make sure you know who owns the advisor’s RIA and Broker/Dealer (if applicable). The firm may look independent, but it may be owned by a bank or insurance company. Google the name of the owner to make sure there is no history of financial fraud, misrepresentation, or omission.

A. Name of Firm
  • Black River Financial, LLC
B. Relationship to Firm
  • Independent Contractor
C. Name of RIA
  • IC Advisory Services, Inc
D. Name of Broker/Dealer
  • The Investment Center, Inc
E. Name(s) of Custodian(s)
  • BNY Pershing


You want a real expert with documented credentials helping you plan your financial future and invest your assets in the securities markets.

Real experts have valid, documented credentials that include degrees, experience, and high quality certifications.

Paladin Quality Rating: Paladin is the only SEC registered firm that vets and rates the quality of financial advisors and firms. A 5 Star rating means the advisor or firm scored in the 90th percentile or higher when Paladin rated the quality of their credentials, ethics, business practices, and services.

Experience: Years of experience is the best way for advisors to become real financial experts.

Education: Degrees should be from accredited institutions. Use the Internet to research schools you may not have heard of. Some advisors buy degrees to appear more knowledgeable than they really are.

Certifications: Also called designations, certifications are the best way for advisors to acquire specialized knowledge in shorter time periods. Some certifications are extremely valuable (CFA, CFP, CIMA, CPA). 35% of certifications are fake (Source: Paladin Research).

Associations: Membership in quality associations can also be a source of specialized knowledge if the organizations have continuing education requirements.

Firm Credentials: Some advisors represent firms that employ or license multiple professionals. Some of these professionals may impact your financial results.

Tip: Real experts have good educations, years of experience, and high quality certifications and designations.

A. Years of Financial Experience
  • 35 Years
B. College, Degrees, Years
  • Rutgers - MBA
  • University of Delaware - BSCE
C. Current Certifications
  • None
D. Financial Industry Associations (Active Memberships)
  • Financial Services Institute

Registration, Licensing,

You want a real financial expert. You also want an expert you can trust.

Registration: Only Registered Investment Advisors (firms) and Investment Advisor Representatives (professionals) can provide financial advice and ongoing services for fees.

Type of Registration: RIAs with less than $100 million of assets register with your state’s Securities Commissioner. RIAs with more than $100 million of assets register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Industry Licenses: These licenses permit advisors to sell investment and insurance products for commissions.

Registration & License Numbers: Use the advisor and firm’s registration and license numbers to check compliance records at:,, your State’s Securities Commissioner, and your State’s Insurance Commissioner.

State Licensing: Make sure the advisor is licensed to sell investment and insurance products in your state. Make sure the advisor is properly licensed before you buy.

Financial Fiduciary: RIAs and IARs are fiduciaries who are held to the highest ethical standards in the financial service industry. Salesmen are held to lower ethical standards that do not require them to put your financial interests first.

Compliance Record (Investment): Does an advisor or firm have disclosures on compliance records that are maintained by,, or your state’s Securities Commissioner?

Compliance Record (Insurance): Does an advisor or firm have disclosures on compliance records that are maintained by your state’s Insurance Commissioner?

Criminal Disclosures: It may be hard to believe, but convicted felons can obtain securities licenses if their crimes were not securities related.

Additional Disclosures: Advisors and firms have the option of providing additional disclosures that are published on their Paladin Research Reports.

ADVs: RIAs file ADVs with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These documents provide valuable information about advisory firms.

Links: Click on these links to view additional information about advisors and firms on third party websites.

A. RIA/IAR Registration
  • IAR
B. Type of RIA Registration
  • SEC
C. Industry Licenses
  • Securities License(s)
  • Insurance License(s)
D. Registration & License Numbers
  • CRD: 1230579
  • IARD: None
  • Insurance: NPN # 2340855
E. State Licences
  • Financial Advice, Services for Fees: See List
    • Alabama
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • Maryland
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Washington
  • Investment Products for Commission: See List
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • Pennsylvania
    • South Carolina
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Washington
  • Insurance Products for Commission: See List
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania
    • South Carolina
F. Compliance Record (Investment)
  • No Disclosures
G. Compliance Record (Insurance)
  • No Disclosures
H. Criminal Disclosure(s)
  • None
I. Additional Disclosure(s)
  • None
J. View our ADV(s)
K. Links

Business Data & Practices

Part VII describes the advisor’s business and practices. How does the advisor’s business practices compare to other professionals you are considering?

Business Philosophy: Every advisor has a business philosophy. This makes philosophy a differentiating characteristic. Compare philosophies and select the one that has the highest probability of helping you achieve your financial goals.

Minimum Asset Requirement: A high percentage of financial advisors have minimum asset requirements for new clients. Advisors with bigger practices tend to have higher minimums. Advisors with smaller practices tend to have lower minimums. Some advisors will work with anyone who would benefit from their services.

Number of Current Clients: An indicator for the scope of an advisor or firm’s current business.

Assets Under Management or Advisement: An indicator for the scope of an advisor or firm’s current business.

Method(s) of Compensation: A critical variable when you select a financial advisor. Real advisors are compensated with fees. Salesmen are compensated with commissions. Some professionals receive both types of compensation.

Methods of Communication: Traditional advisors will meet face-to-face in your location or their offices. Virtual advisors communicate via email, telephone, or Skype. All Robo advisor communications are online.

Types of Reports: Performance reports are the most important type of documentation. You may also want brokerage statements, market environment reports, and newsletters.

Second Language: It may be important to you that your advisor speaks a second language.

Value Statement: This statement may describe how this advisor or firm produces value that offsets expenses that are deducted from your accounts. The statement may also describe differentiating characteristics.

Tip: Select an advisor or firm that has an investor-friendly business model and practices.

A. Business Philosophy
  • Read Business Philosophy

    Our philosophy is simple: Help our clients live more enjoyable lives by having better control over their finances. To that end, we offer advice and programs that can help you avoid poor financial decisions while potentially increasing your probability of success. Our core belief is: " WIN BY NOT LOSING"

B. Minimum Asset Requirement
  • $250,000
C. Number of Current Clients
  • Available Upon Request
D. Assets (Management, Advisement)
  • Available Upon Request
E. Methods of Compensation
  • Hourly Fee
  • Fixed Fee
  • Asset-Based Fee
  • Commissions (Investment Products)
  • Commissions (Insurance Products)
F. Methods of Communication
  • Face-to-Face Meetings
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Skype/Voice
  • Skype/Video-Voice
G. Types of Reports (Frequency)
  • Performance (qa)
  • Brokerage Statement (mo)
  • Newsletters (mo)
H. Second Language(s)
  • None
I. Value Statement
  • View Value Statement
    A cornerstone of financial planning is the recognition that everyone's business and life situation is unique. Practitioner experience and skill are critical when planning for a successful financial outcome. Our planning approach is based on the belief that a strong team of experts can deliver a more comprehensive solution than one practitioner, or even one firm. BRF is partnered with a large network of specialists in a wide range of disciplines that can help craft the best solution. (CPAs, Attorneys, Insurance Specialists, Money Managers, Benefits Consultants, Actuaries, Business Consultants, etc...) The team based approach, and the connected professionals that make it work, is the result of working with many clients solving many different issues over the last three decades.

Clients & Services

Part VIII provides information about this advisor or firm’s clientele and services.

Types of Clients: Describes the types of clients this advisor or firm works with. You should ask for a breakdown of clients to make sure the advisor works with a lot of clients like you.

Types of Services: Describes the types of services that are provided by this advisor or firm. Make sure the advisor provides the services that you are seeking.

Discretionary Asset Management: Some advisors and firms make investment decisions for clients without the clients’ approval in advance.

Limited Engagement Services: Some advisors provide limited engagement services that do not require assets.

Custodian(s): Financial advisors are not allowed to come in contact with your assets. They use the services of third party or firm custodians to hold your assets for you. Make sure the advisor uses the services of a brand name custodian or a custodian with a long history of providing services to investors with billions of dollars of assets.

Tip: There are five types of financial advice and services: Planning, Investment, Insurance, Tax, and Legal (wills, trusts).

A. Types of Clients
  • Individuals & Couples (Working)
  • Individuals & Couples (Retired)
  • Business Pension Plans
  • Business (Taxable)
B. Types of Financial Services
  • Financial Planning
  • Investment Advice & Management
  • Insurance Products & Annuities
  • Investment Advice & Management
C. Discretionary Asset Management
  • Discretionary and Non-Discretionary
D. Limited Engagement Services
  • Planning Only
  • Financial Plan Reviews
  • Investment Portfolio Reviews


Certification: Advisors certify the data in this research report are complete and accurate. Check Most Recent Update to determine the last time this advisor or firm updated this report.

Advisor Name
  • Mark Harwanko
Most Recent Update:
  • Feb 20, 2019