A new tool launched by AARP and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) aims to help investors select a financial advisor.

The free online tool, AARP Interview an Advisor, is designed to take the guesswork and mystery out of the process of interviewing and hiring a financial advisor.

“Many people can benefit from working with a financial professional, but they just don’t know where to start when it comes to selecting one,” said Joseph Borg, NASAA president and director of the Alabama Securities Commission, in a statement.

According to Borg, the Interview an Advisor tool provides guidance on the types of questions to ask an advisor and helps frame the discussion to empower investors in the selection process. 

“At a minimum, we encourage investors to check out the background of a potential financial advisor with state regulators,” Borg said in a statement. “Investors also should make sure they understand the products and services being offered and the fees they will be paying.”

The Interview an Advisor tool walks the user through a short series of suggested questions to ask a financial professional as part of the process of the hiring decision. Included are questions regarding the advisor’s qualifications, methods of compensation, and whether the advisor is required to act as a fiduciary.

Jean Setzfand, senior vice president, programs for AARP, believes the Interview an Advisor’s interactive guide will help investors avoid confusion about a financial professional’s standards and qualifications.

“While registered investment advisors serve as fiduciaries who are required to provide advice that is in their clients’ best interest, many other financial advisors operate under different requirements that obligate them only to make recommendations that are ‘suitable,’” Setzfand said in a statement.

Interview an Advisor also includes a sample script to help start a conversation with a financial advisor.

The app-like Interview an Advisor – which is is optimized for mobile use, and can run on any smartphone, tablet or computer – allows users to log their advisor’s answers to each of the interview questions. These responses are aggregated online for AARP’s research purposes, and no personal information is requested or entered.

The web-enabled tool is free and available to anyone, and AARP membership is not required.

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