Money Talks


Money Talks: Choosing a Professional

Registered Financial Professionals

  • Buy and sell securities for their customers, including individual investors. They are regulated by FINRA and the SEC.

Investment Advisers

  • Provide advice about securities tailored to the needs of their clients. They are regulated by the SEC or state securities regulators.

Financial Planners

  • Provide an array of financial services that vary from provider to provider. Regulation and licensing depends on the services offered.

Insurance Agents

  • Sell life, health and property insurance policies, and other insurance products, including annuities. They are regulated by state insurance commissions.


  • Provide professional assistance with taxes and financial planning, tax reporting, auditing and management consulting. They are regulated by national and state licensing standards.


  • Offer legal assistance to clients related to financial planning and investment decisions, and may represent clients in disputes with firms or investment professionals. They are regulated by state bar associations.

Investor Bulletin: How to Select an Investment Professional

Choosing an investment professional is an important decision. This updated Investor Bulletin provides a few key tips to help you make a well-informed choice. A number of questions you should consider asking before you hire an investment professional are in the investor bulletin “Questions to Ask When Hiring an Investment Professional.” Should you have any questions, feel free to call’s toll-free investor assistance line at 1-800-SEC-0330 or use the online question web form at

Tip 1. Make sure the investment professional is licensed.

Tip 2. Find out if the products and services available are right for you.

Tip 3. Understand how you’ll pay for services and products, and how your investment

Tip 4. Ask about the investment professional’s experience and credentials.

Tip 5. Ask the investment professional if he or she has had a disciplinary history with a government regulator or had customer complaints.

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