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Does my financial advisor need to be local to my area to be successful with me?

Jan 04, 2012 by BrightScope from San Diego, CA in  |  Flag
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Layton Jacob Cox Level 11

I actually believe that with the advances in technology and the growing influx of Gen X and Gen Y investors, you no longer have to be on the same continent.

Skype, Email, Text, Facebook, LinkedIn. You can access these anywhere that you get cell phone service.

It's always nice to meet someone face-to-face, but we all know that time is money. Driving or flying to a client's location not only wastes the advisor's time (which means they have to charge more to make up for that missed time) but it also hinders the client as well. A client has more time to prepare well crafted answers and thoughts when they aren't face-to-face.

Of course, all of this depends on whether the client and advisor are tech savvy. I wouldn't suggest this approach on an 85 year old, but someone who is 30 that is in a different state or travels over seas often would fit perfect.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Aug 28, 2014 from Tucson, AZ

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Tunc Tanin Level 10

I prefer clients that I can see face to face at least once. I am not a big fan of giving investment advice to someone that I never met in person. I dont feel I could judge how they will feel when the market dropped 30 percent a year twice in a row. I feel I could do this better if I met this person face to face. In many cases, one couple is usually more reserved then the other one is more talkative. If I just use skype to talk to them, I am afraid I will be biased towards the spouse who is more talkative. Anyway, that is my own personal bias, I prefer clients face to face. Someone mentioned you should check the advisors record. I am not a big fan of this. Madoff had a clean record until he was busted. Even though Finra had complaints against Madoff, the complaints source was not a client but a reporter so Finra did not disclose this to the public. Only complaints made by clients are reported. I am a financial advisor, if I catch someone in the act of doing something illegal like Madoff ,FINRA or SEC will most likely ignore it. It will not get reported on the advisors record. Our regulators dont like to investigate complaints from other advisors because most of the time they suspect it is about commissions or fees.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Oct 31, 2014 from Somerville, MA

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Not necessarily. I've had clients in many different cities and states. I worked with some for years without ever meeting them in person, but I don't think this is ideal. I've found there is nothing like meeting with someone in person at least once a year. People are more likely to be open and honest in a face to face meeting than over the phone. I think you also form a better bond when meeting in person.

I still have clients far away from me, but I meet with them at least twice a year. I think that's especially important if you have elderly clients where you may help detect the possibility of diminishing faculties.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jun 25, 2015 from Austin, TX

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Today with tech it doesn't have to be someone local if it works. I have many clients I've never met since i use lots of online meeting tools and screen sharing. All advisors don't work this way but some do so shop around.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jun 29, 2015

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Joseph Gissy Level 16

Nothing can really beat the face to face interaction that a client can have with an advisor. However, as mentioned above you do not have to be local or even in the same state for that matter to have a financial advisor or to even have face to face meetings. With the technologies we have at our fingertips using go-to-meetings and other online platforms, a client and advisor can still see each other online and have a meeting as though you are in your advisors office. In fact many of the forms and other resources are moving towards cloud based technologies and even signing documents are turning towards electronic filing and signatures.

In the end, you need to feel comfortable with whomever you decide to go with. Make sure that you do a little due diligence on your part and find an advisor that fits with your lifestyle as well as financial goals.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Oct 31, 2014 from Woodland Hills, CA

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Like others, I certainly prefer to meet face-to-face with clients, at least once. However, technology has made it possible to provide financial planning and investing services anywhere. As advisors, we do have to keep in mind registration issues with the various states, and there are states which are easier to begin working in than others. So much of what we do even in our face-to-face meetings involves technology, it is a natural jump to working with clients over the computer in today’s world.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Nov 08, 2014

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I think that this depends on the clients goals and comfort level, but I can tell you that I have many successful client relationships out of our immediate service area. I travel to meet each client face to face once a year and everything else is handled easily using technology (email, phone, skype, etc.). Although working with a local advisor has some small advantages, if you have found an advisor you like who is out of the area, don't let that preclude you from working with him/her if you can both agree on the service terms.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Nov 11, 2015

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No, not at all. I meet with clients all over the country via Skype, webex, conference calls, etc. A lot of clients love this feature.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Feb 24, 2016

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