Advisory firms have another option to get attention from potential clients: opting to be rated by Investor.com.
The site has some 16,500 RIA public pages that help investors navigate the regulatory maze of judging an investment advisor, or knowing more about their current advisor.
Launched in 2018 by Michigan-based Reink Media Group, which also runs sites such as StockBrokers.com and ForexBrokers.com, the site works through advisory firm documents filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
The site has two purposes: rating firms and investor education. Its main business model is to rate firms on a scale of one to 5 stars — for a fee of $1,000 to $5,000 a year — according to a proprietary algorithm.
Second, it provides direct links to the SEC and to FINRA’s BrokerCheck for each of its firms and advisors and provides an alert (if needed) on certain activities at a firm, along with questions that potential clients should ask the firm and why.
“We want to help Americans ask the right questions, flag something they should be aware of and make them feel empowered,” says Blain Reinkensmeyer, co-founder of the site.
The goal of educating investors stems from a personal experience. When his grandfather’s health was failing, Reinkensmeyer took up the task of sorting through his grandparents’ financial documents, only to discover that over 40 years they had spent $100,000 on excessive fees through a financial advisor. That motivated him to help others to avoid this fate.
The nine-person team works through information provided by advisors to the SEC and FINRA, including Form ADV Parts 1 and 2 and now Form CRS. That data is then crunched by an algorithm to provide a rating as well as other information.