Working with an investment firm to manage and grow your
financial assets is a journey that can yield positive results, but you need to
be familiar with and understand the company to make the right choice for your
needs. Choosing well at the outset of this voyage can bring you the best
long-term results—and the most peace of mind. Today’s internet makes finding
information about asset management companies much more convenient and simpler
than in previous decades. The key to successful research is knowing where to
look. These are some excellent ways to find helpful information on investment
Investment companies are required to register with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission using Form ADV. This disclosure statement
tells you important information such as the current amount of assets managed
and how the company operates. It also provides information on fees and
compensation. You can access this form for free at the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure, or IAPD,
website. Form ADV has two parts, with the second being known as the “brochure.”
Take time to read both. The IAPD website may redirect you to another official
financial website for more specific information.
Investment firms will either be overseen by the SEC or the
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. Some are regulated by both
agencies. Each agency operates a database that allows you to look up asset
management companies and check background information.
Advisor Search—Operated by
the SEC, this feature lets you search for investment professionals in a firm,
and you can also find a link to the IAPD website for research on individuals
FINRA, this database tells you about professional licenses, past disputes, and
other pertinent professional information. It also lists mergers, acquisitions,
and name changes.
Check both platforms if the firm that interests you is dually
registered. You may find information on one that was not included on the other.
Many online databases such as Crunchbase focus on business and
finance. Look up the names of asset management firms that interest you to learn
more about them. For example, this Fisher Investments data on Crunchbase gives
you important facts about the company and can spur other research to help you
learn even more.
State Securities Regulator
The Washington, D.C.-based North American Securities Administrators Association, or NASAA,
provides information on how to contact state securities regulators to learn
more about financial firms and individual money professionals. Trustworthy
companies such as Fisher Investments, an independent money manager, are
transparent about their professional backgrounds and operations and are easy to
research through official databases and industry authorities such as a state
Reading intelligent reviews on legitimate websites about
investment companies can be a good way to deepen your knowledge about a company
and gain insight into the way it operates. You want an investment firm’s
priorities and processes to align with your personal goals, and a good way to
determine this before signing up with a firm is to read informed opinions about
the way it does business. Long-lived firms such as Fisher Investments, an asset
manager, are simple to research through online reviews.
Professional Designations Database
Make sure you understand what financial credentials mean by
looking them up on FINRA’s Professional Designations database. Check out
the designations held by individuals working in an asset management firm to get
a good idea of the types of financial services it provides. Money professionals
have various specialties, and you should work with individuals and firms that
offer the types of services you need.
Before signing up with an investment firm, take time for due
diligence. Research the backgrounds and credentials of money professionals
using respected industry databases and legitimate websites. The internet is a
convenient way to check out financial firms so you can move forward with your
money decisions with confidence.