Investing without a fiduciary is only recommended for those who are willing, have the time, and are confident in their ability to allocate assets appropriately. However, fiduciaries have the added benefit of being a tax-efficient method of money management and retirement income planning. It can also allow greater access to alternative investments.
Ensure the advisor is registered with the state/the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
They should be registered as an investment advisor or an investment advisor representative (IAR) of a registered investment advisor (RIA).
Ensure that a percentage of your assets under management is used to compensate the RIA and not for buying mutual funds.
Ensure that this fee is the only fee and that it is completely transparent—stay on the lookout for “pay-to-play” fees, etc.
Ensure the RIA does not receive compensation for trading stocks or bonds.
Ensure the RIA does not have an affiliation with a broker-dealer.
Keep your money with a reputable third-party custodian.
Examples of these third-party custodians include Fidelity and Schwab, where you can check your account online at any time of day, as well as receive monthly statements.