By federal regulation, all investment professionals must be affiliated with a broker/dealer; however, the firm I choose to affiliate with is completely up to me. Of the many good independent broker/dealers from which to choose, we believe that our partnership with Commonwealth Financial Network® says a lot about our firm and what makes us different from other independent representatives.
A full selection of wealth management choices
Working with an independent broker/dealer means that we can select any asset we need to help you achieve your financial goals. At some brokerage firms, brokers don’t always have that freedom of choice. For the most part, they must sell what the firm tells them to sell.
Commonwealth was founded in 1979 as an independent broker/dealer by Joseph Deitch. Joe, then a representative at an insurance company, asked himself how a firm could ask its representatives to promote the firm’s own brand of investment products to their clients and still ensure that those clients were getting objective advice. He realized there had to be a better way. And there was—he created Commonwealth.
Commonwealth Financial Network has won Investment Advisor magazine’s Broker/Dealer of the Year award nine times, which is just one source of proof that Commonwealth is committed to providing its representatives with world-class service. It’s that world-class service that allows us to spend the bulk of our time focused on our clients, not on administrative work.
While the role of the independent broker/dealer goes largely unnoticed by clients, there are subtle and important differences among them that can offer you insight when evaluating a financial professional to help you pursue your financial goals.
Questions to ask any financial professional:
Whom do you report to?
Only financial professionals working with an independent broker/dealer can truly say they report to their clients. Other professionals report to a sales manager who sets specific targets for sales to existing clients. How will you ever know if the recommendations provided to you by such an individual are geared to your goals or to other factors? A trusted financial professional with an independent firm can be driven by what is best for his client. Often brokers are driven by what is best for their firm.
Do you make more money when you sell a product developed by your firm?
It’s not uncommon for a broker to receive additional financial incentives to push his or her firm’s own products. In fact, certain investment firms will not even carry the competitors’ products, regardless of how well they perform. Rather, they offer “suitable substitutes.” We don’t have such concerns as Commonwealth has no proprietary products. We find quality wealth management techniques and bring those to our clients.