facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
 What to ask when selecting a Registered Investment Advisor Thumbnail

What to ask when selecting a Registered Investment Advisor

If you are considering working with an independent asset manager it is important to know how to do your due diligence. What are relevant questions that help you find the right financial partner for you? Some times it is hard to work through all the information out there and to pick the right questions. To make things easier we have put together a list of 50 essential questions you should consider asking when talking to a potential new asset manager.

Experience, Expertise and Investments

  1. What are your academic and professional credentials?
  2. What experience do you have as an investment manager?
  3. How do you do your reasearch?
  4. What different investment strategies do you offer?
  5. How do you determine which investment strategy is the right one for me?
  6. Is it possible to switch the investment strategy if I am unhappy with it at some point?
  7. In what asset classes do you invest and how are they currently weighted?
  8. If I were to invest with you today, how would you deploy my funds?
  9. What is the net profit and loss track record for a typical client, for each of the past five years, after all costs are deducted?
  10. What is your current market outlook?


  1. How frequently do you communicate with your clients?
  2. On what channels do you usually communicate?
  3. How do you deal with absences like holidays or illness in your team?
  4. How and on what notice can I get a hold of you if I need to talk to you?
  5. How often do you travel to the US?
  6. Can I get an online access to my account?
  7. How often will I receive statements from the bank?
  8. Will you provide a yearly tax statement?
  9. Is it possible to have the bank send account and/or tax statements directly to my CPA?
  10. Do you have a newsletter or provide regular reports that help me keep track on what you are doing and what your outlook is?

Fees and Taxes

  1. What are the management fees for the account?
  2. Do you work with a performance fee?
  3. Is the fee all-in or may there be additional charges?
  4. Do you take retrocessions or any other payments from third parties?
  5. How and when are the fees paid?
  6. What are the custody fees from the bank?
  7. Are there any other expenses or charges that may be deducted?
  8. Are there any foreign taxes involved that I should be aware of?
  9. Do you hold any passive foreign investment company (PFIC) in the portfolios? If yes, how are you dealing with the tax implications for US clients?
  10. If my current tax advisor is not familiar with international bank accounts, do you have a network of professionals you can recommend?


  1. Do you have direct access to my funds or do you hold a “power of attorney” to trade on my behalf?
  2. Will my funds be commingled with other clients’ funds?
  3. How can I make a payment from my account and how long will this take?
  4. How can I retrieve my investment and how long will this take?
  5. Walk me through the account opening procedure.
  6. Is it possible to set-up the account via mail or is an in person meeting required?
  7. How often will you review my account?
  8. How is the custodian bank selected?
  9. Can I change the custodian bank if I am unhappy with my choice for any reason?
  10. Do you offer any of your own products such as funds etc.?

Regulation and Compliance

  1. In case of your firm’s insolvency, will your creditors have any claim against my funds?
  2. What are the insolvency laws for banks in the relevant jurisdiction?
  3. Are independent asset managers subject to the same laws and regulations as Swiss banks?
  4. How are you regulated?
  5. Are you registered with the SEC?
  6. How can I make certain that my spouse or other beneficiaries have access to my account if I die or become incapacitated?
  7. If I am unhappy or have a complaint is there an ombudsman that I can contact?
  8. Have you ever been disciplined by a regulator? If yes, what was the problem and how was it resolved?
  9. Have you ever had any legal action brought against you? If yes, please describe the legal action and how it was resolved?
  10. Have you had customer complaints? If yes, how many, what were they about, and how were they resolved?