Finding the Right Investment Advisor for You

Questions To Ask Your Financial Advisor

By Todd Musser, Vice President & Senior Portfolio Manager, Diamond Capital Management

Choosing an investment advisor can be a daunting task. You want to choose someone who is going to help you achieve your financial goals, safeguard the wealth you have worked hard to secure and manage your finances in a comfortable, transparent and ethical way. We understand. That’s why we’ve put together a list of questions that you can ask prospective investment advisors to make certain you find the right fit for you.


What are your qualifications and experience?

While this question may seem obvious, it is crucial to hire an advisor who is best equipped to manage your unique situation. Think of it this way: when you need a medical procedure done, a specialist is almost always involved. Likewise, your financial needs are unique to you and could include a variety of considerations including asset allocation, manager or security selection or financial planning, to name a few.

Our investment officers have an average of 21 years of investment experience and hold a variety of credentials, including the following:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Chartered Market Technician (CMT)
  • Chartered Alternative Investment (CAIA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

What is your investment philosophy?

Just as important as experience and credentials, an advisor’s investment philosophy should correlate to your financial goals and objectives. A mismatch may cause future unexpected and avoidable detrimental consequences. For example, we believe that capital markets exhibit cyclicality that can be observed, anticipated and exploited to provide superior long-term risk-adjusted returns for our clients. This philosophy leads us to construct well-diversified portfolios with high-quality, liquid assets and modest turnover, especially for our tax-sensitive clients.

How will you help me reach my financial goals?

The journey to reach your financial goals is just as important as the result. The best advisors will construct a plan to minimize risk and attempt to mitigate market volatility, thereby helping to reduce the likelihood of reacting impulsively during inevitable tough market times.

In addition to our Investment Management Services, we also provide comprehensive Financial Planning Services. A Dedicated Certified Financial Planner (TM) with over 35 years of experience in Financial Services can provide an evaluation of your current financial situation as well as future goals assessment.  This planning covers investments, spending, savings, college and retirement planning, as well as tax and estate considerations.

What types of clients do you have and services do you offer?

By asking what type of clients an advisor serves, you can determine how closely your situation aligns with their expertise. For example, they may specialize in serving high-net-worth individuals or large company retirement plans. The skillsets required for successful advisement are vastly different.

In addition to Investment Management and Financial Planning Services offered by Diamond Capital Management, we provide a variety of additional services within our Wealth Management Division. Within our Trust, Tax, Estate and Legal Department, we offer comprehensive Trust Services, including Trust Administration and Estate Settlement. Additionally, we offer services to retirement plans with specialists in our Retirement Plans Services department. In total, we have over 60 local specialists in our Wealth Management division.

How do you get paid?

By understanding an advisor’s fee structure, you can evaluate if interests are properly aligned. It may also uncover conflicts of interest or provide additional information to assist in making a decision.

Our fees are fully transparent and disclosed on your periodic account statements.

  • Asset Management Fees are based on the market value of the accounts under management.
  • We do not accept any 12b-1 fees, soft dollar commissions or own any proprietary mutual funds.
  • The investment management fees are calculated monthly by multiplying the account balance by the annual rate (as per the fee schedule), and then dividing by 12. These fees are deducted directly from the investment account; there is no need for you to write checks or actively make payments.
  • This maximizes transparency, minimizes conflicts of interest and aligns our incentives as both we and our clients benefit when the account increases in value.

Will our engagement be under a fiduciary status?

 We have a strong bias toward a fiduciary role that places your interest above all. If a potential advisor does not act in that capacity, ask for an explanation of responsibilities.

As an investment manager operating under trust powers granted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the primary regulator for National Banks), we uphold the fiduciary duty at the highest level. We avoid all conflicts of interest, which allows us to manage your investments to meet your goals by considering only your best interests.

To learn more about finding a financial advisor,  contact one of our specialists. 

Contact a Specialist