No one likes to have to fire someone, whether it’s an employee or an individual who has been providing you with a service. Doing so can be an uncomfortable situation and can result in some unpleasant feelings and exchanges.

Nevertheless, sometimes it has to be done. No one wants to — or should — pay for poor service, and no one wants to feel like they are wasting their money for a compromised or poor product or service. The same rules apply to the hiring and firing of a financial advisor.

Let’s face it. Some financial advisors are just not that good. They may not pay enough attention to their clients' needs, they may give out bad advice, or maybe they are not putting their clients’ best interests first. All of these scenarios could be grounds for firing an advisor. The truth is that clients deserve to get the best services for their money and should be treated fairly and with respect. If a client is worried that she isn't getting the best advice, she would be wise to consider switching to a new financial expert. (For more, see: 6 Things Bad Financial Advisors Do.)

Here are some common reasons why some financial advisors end up getting the boot.

They Don't Ask Enough Questions

Clients often ask their advisors a lot of questions, and they expect to be given complete answers. A wise advisor will take the time necessary to teach clients about the ins and outs of whatever investment product he or she is interested in learning about — be it mutual funds or ETFs — as well as answering any questions the client may have about investing in his or her 401(k) plan or IRA.

But what is equally important is for the advisor to ask the client questions, so that he or she can adeptly make a specific plan for the client’s future. Many first-time clients don’t know the right questions to ask or what to tell the advisor about their current financial situation. So the onus should be on the advisor to discover information and facts about the client’s life and portfolio that may be pertinent to financial planning. 

Some key areas that advisors should focus in their line of questioning is whether or not the client has a lot of credit card debt, if they have any savings, and whether or not they have they completed a will. Once the client starts speaking, additional questions should bubble up, giving a deeper understanding of the client’s needs. It’s also a good idea to set up an annual review of a client’s portfolio, so that together you can evaluate how investments are doing and where the client wants to go with his financial planning. (For related reading, see: Why Market Timing Should Be Left to the Pros.)

Their Fee Structure Isn't Clear

Financial advisors get paid in a variety of ways, but most use either a fee-based or fee-only structure. Fee-based advisers earn a commission on their sale of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They may also charge a fee based on the percentage of assets under management (AUM) the client holds. Fee-only advisers, by contrast, can charge an hourly rate or upfront retainer fee, or again, charge a fee based on a percentage of the client’s AUM. (For more, see: Paying Your Investment Advisor - Fees or Commissions?)

What is important in all of this is that the advisor clearly explains to clients how he will be charging them and exactly what type of structure they use. The advisor should make sure the answer is clear and that the client fully understands how things work. Otherwise, there is room for confusion and surprises when payday comes. If a client feels that his advisor was not upfront about fees, he may well look for another advisor who is.

They're Not There When Needed

Clients want to feel that their financial advisor is available and accessible to them when they need to discuss an issue or ask a question. They want to know that someone will answer the phone when they call, or that their message will be returned in a timely fashion, preferably within 24 hours. If an advisor is going to be unavailable, he or she should make sure that an assistant will be around to take any messages that come in or answer any general questions. (For related reading, see: The Plusses of Second Opinions for Financial Advisor Clients.)

The advisor should also implement a back-up plan for when he or she is going to be on vacation or be unreachable. If a client wants to make changes to his account on a certain day, there should be a way for him to do so, even if the advisor is not around. (For more, see: Why Clients Fire Financial Advisors.)

The Bottom Line 

There is no reason for a client to stay with a financial advisor who is not serving his or her needs. Advisors should check in with clients to make sure they're offering their best possible services, answering all questions and focusing on clients’ goals and complete financial needs. (For related reading, see: Top Retirement Hack? Start With a Lifestyle Change.)

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