Northington Blog

How Do I Research Financial Advisor’s and Advisory Firms?

Welcome to our Northington Blog, I’m a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™  Professional, my name is  Stephen Northington.  Educating the consumer is a Northington mantra and there is never more important time for Americans to understand the tools and resources to research their advisor and or advisory firm.  Today, I am sharing two really good resources that can help you do just that and a couple of risk management tools.

Broker Check:   BrokerCheck is a free tool from FINRA that can help you research the professional backgrounds of brokers and brokerage firms, as well as investment adviser firms and advisers.

About Broker Check:

SEC Form ADVForm ADV is the uniform form used by investment advisers to register with both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities authorities. … The brochure is the primary disclosure document that investment advisers provide to their clients

About Form ADV:

Risk Management:  Just like Taxes and helping you keep what you already have is important to you  We also believe managing risk is too.  It’s sometimes is a challenge and very expensive to shift that risk to a third party. And even more difficult when you are talking about financial advisors and advisory firms.  Here are two engagement standards of care that you control and you don’t need me or anyone else’s help in getting this done.

The Fiduciary Standard of Care in the Financial Services Industry: Investment advisors are bound to a fiduciary standard that was established as part of the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. They can be regulated by the SEC or state securities regulators, both of which hold advisors to a fiduciary standard that requires them to put their client’s interests above their own.  This is a higher standard of care than a lot of investment  (brokers) hold themselves to called the Suitability Standard.

Learn More About the Fiduciary Standard of Care:

Articles on the Fiduciary Standard to help you understand the standard.

Finally, what kind of certifications your advisor holds are a very important way for the US Consumer to gauge what level of education and accountability they hold and operate their business.


The CFP® certification process, administered by CFP Board, identifies to the public that those individuals who have been authorized to use the CFP® certification marks in the U.S. have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.

I hope you feel a little more educated about what is an extremely important choice on who and how you manage finance and money in your life.

~Stephen M. Northington, 

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