Do Your Homework
Do Your Homework
Do your homework? Who are you investing your hard earned money with any way? Do you know their full name? What licenses do they hold? Have they ever had any license suspensions or revocations?
You might not know where to look, but I'm here to help. You can find information on me (Richard Allison Johnson) at the following links below. You should be able to find out about your current financial advisor at some of these links, also. It depends on whether they hold these licenses or designations.
- Florida Insurance Department - Florida 2-15 License
- For other States Insurance Licensing Departments - You will need to search on your own.
- FINRA Broker Check - Series 63 and 65 Licenses
- SEC Investment Adviser Search - Registered Investment Adviser License
- Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation - Real Estate License
- For other States Real Estate Licensing Departments - You will need to search on your own.
- CFP Board - CFP Designation
There are other places you can search. Try doing a "Google or Yahoo Search" and see what pops up. Keep in mind that a lot of people have common names like me. Trust me, there are a ton of people named Richard Johnson. I have first hand experience with this issue. This is why I always like to use my full name, Richard Allison Johnson.
You can also pay for a criminal background check at places online, but I don't have any expertise in this area. Unfortunately, I have no idea which firms are reputable and which are not. Further, keep in mind that unless you have someone's full name, birth dates and current and past addresses and places of employment, then you might be on a wild goose chase. For example, if you search for John Smith, then you might find hundreds of people with those names. Further, it is possible that people with the same first and last names might also have the exact same birthday, so be sure of what you are looking at before you jump to any conclusions.
FBI Criminal Background Checks
For the laughing low figure of $18.00, you can have your financial advisor get fingerprinted and have the results mailed to your address. By having it mailed to your address, then you will not be subject to any tomfoolery. I'm not sure how many financial advisors would agree to this, but I certainly would if it meant getting a good client. To me it is a minor inconvenience to put a potential client's mind at ease. The FBI Criminal Background process takes about 6 to 8 weeks, just so you know what to expect.
Crooks will be Crooks
Unfortunately, there are a lot of crooks out there and you always have to be on the lookout. However, if you follow my free advice in regard to my Do Not Buy List, Keeping it Public and Keeping it Liquid, then you will ward off a lot of crooks right there. Crooks tend to always offer products that don't exist, that are not publicly traded and are certainly not liquid. Stay away from those and you will be fine.