Frequently Asked Questions

RIAs are required to act as fiduciaries, always in the best interests of clients and seek to avoid conflicts of interest.

As of 2022, the U.S. had more than 15,000 SEC-registered investment advisors, according to Statista.

An Investment advisor representative is an individual who works for a registered investment advisor – the firm. Like the firm, they must adhere to a fiduciary standard, acting in clients’ best interest.

Investment advisors are regulated based on location and assets under management. Generally, advisors with $100 million or more of assets under management, or those who advise a registered investment company, must register with the SEC. Others register with state regulators.

Investment advisor representatives must meet certain qualifications to work with an RIA and must adhere to the same fiduciary standards – always acting in clients’ best interest.

They must have passed the necessary licensing requirements for offering investment advice or met certain exemptions such as having a CFP® or CFA® designation.

RIAs often are compensated by a percentage of the assets under management for each client. This form of compensation comes directly from clients, not third-party sources. The aim is to align the success of the client with the success of the RIA.

There are many types of financial advisers. Some work as independent contractors while others work full-time for financial firms.

You can generally check the certifications and licenses of individual financial advisors through online tools or through a firm’s website.

The most common certification that is important to most individual seeking help with their personal finances is the CFP®  (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™).