How to find information on investment firms

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 firms.

Form ADV

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.

Industry Platforms        

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 and companies.
  • BrokerCheck—Compiled by 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.

Business Databases

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 securities regulator.

Reviews

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.

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