Posted on Wednesday 28 May 2008
Yesterday, a friend and coworker sent me an e-mail saying he won a free lunch for ten people and would I like to come. I don’t turn down free food so I said sure. Today he e-mailed me to confirm as well as tell me the ‘catch’. In exchange for the free lunch, we had to give ten minutes of our time to an Ameriprise financial advisor. I still wanted the free lunch so I figured what the heck.
I will give the advisor credit. True to his word, he didn’t take up more than about ten minutes. He gave his spiel and passed out forms for us to fill out specifying what financial topics we wanted to learn more about as well as if we would like a complimentary 45-minute consultation. There was no hard sell and he was nothing but friendly.
However, I still declined the consultation. It was nothing personal but he didn’t meet my ‘standards’. He was not a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) nor did he hold any other designations (i.e. RIA or PFS). I asked if he held any ‘series’ licenses. He replied series 7 and series 66. Those allow you to sell investment vehicles. That said to me that he hasn’t bothered to obtain any formal education in actual financial planning but he will sell you something. I don’t find that very useful. What’s more, he is compensated via commission vs being fee-only. That could pose a conflict of interest. I would prefer to work with someone whose fidicuary obligation is to me. One of my coworkers did sign up for the consultation though so I’ll be interested to see how it went.