Q: I'm trying to figure out if my "financial planner"
was actually qualified to give me advice on investing - do they have any kind of certification they have to have?
A: If your "financial planner" is a stockbroker who sells and markets stocks, bonds or other securities products, the easiest way to assess their certifications is checking the FINRA platform Brokercheck. Simply type in the brokers name and you will see what certifications the broker or "financial planner" has under the "Examinations" section of the platform. This will tell you if the financial planner has a Series 7 license which permits someone to sell or market securities products. Brokercheck will also contain other critical information relevant to the brokers qualifications such as the number of years affiliated with a broker dealer and what member firm the broker is affiliated with. The "Disclosures" section will show whether the broker has been involved in any past customer disputes or regulatory matters with FINRA the self regulatory organization which manages Brokercheck and overseas broker dealers. Your "financial planner" may not appear on Brokercheck if the individual was an accountant or works as a CFA or CFP. More information is needed on the financial planner in order to really assess what certifications they are required to have.
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