Skip to content

Financial Advisor Complaints is often like a pebble in your boot on a hike. It can be uncomfortable and irritating and you will have to deal with it until it goes away. The road from frustration to resolution is often a long one for clients dealing with issues like unclear fees and inadequate advice.

Transparency - or the lack thereof - is often the root of many grievances. Clients look for a clearer view of their financial future, but can end up staring through fog. If advisors don't clearly explain investment strategies or fee structures, it is like a tour guide who fails to mention the steep hills ahead.

Then, there is suitability. This is almost as important as finding the right size in shoes. If your advisor is constantly offering you investments without considering your risk tolerance or financial goals, both of you are heading for a fall. It's a bit like getting ready for a sprint, when in reality you're training for marathon.

Communication gaps can lead to minor misunderstandings becoming major issues. It's like playing broken telephone: what starts as a message can become something else entirely by the time it gets to the other side. The confusion can be reduced by engaging in regular, jargon free conversations.

Sometimes, expertise promised at the beginning of a meeting doesn't show up in the advice that is given. The frustration that can arise when you trust someone else with your finances but find out their expertise is shallower than a puddle of water in the summer can be high.

It is important to take action when faced with these situations, but where do you start? Document all your documents as if they were scrolls being preserved by an ancient archivist. All communications and all decisions related to financial management should be recorded. They are invaluable if a dispute arises.

Speak up. Talk to your advisor about any concerns you have as soon possible. Uncertainties can be clarified by a simple conversation.

If your direct conversations feel like you're talking to a stone or if the solutions that are offered seem as useless as a hot chocolate pot, escalate it within the advisory company. Many larger firms have established procedures to handle complaints. A formal complaint may just be what you need to get the attention of your advisor.

Still feeling unheard? These regulatory bodies exist to protect the consumer from unfair practices. They also ensure that advisors are held accountable for their ethical standards. The filing of a formal complaint with FINRA and SEC gives your complaints a greater level of significance, while also pushing for accountability.

As important as a good hiking map is, it's crucial to remain informed. Understanding your financial rights and knowing what you are entitled to from them will provide some solid ground if things start to feel uncertain.

You should also remember that changing advisors, while not taboo, is an option you may want to consider when your efforts have been fruitless or if trust has evaporated as quickly as morning dew. Sometimes, a fresh start is necessary and beneficial for both your financial wellbeing and peace-of-mind.

When dealing with complaints against advisors, patience, perseverance and preparation are required. These three "Ps" could easily be translated as 'Prevent potential Pitfalls.