About My Practice
I'm not a regular financial adviser. In fact, I don't even like using that title. These days it seems like most bankers, stockbrokers, and insurance agents masquerade as so-called financial advisers, when in reality they are just salespeople making recommendations that serve their company and their own interests more than their customers. The difference is that they all work for the bank, the brokerage firm, or the insurance company - not for you. Ask them to sign their name on company letterhead stating that they will always act as a fiduciary and disclose all conflicts of interest. They won't do it. Unfortunately, when it comes to the financial industry, you are a sheep among wolves.
The good news is that you do have a choice. If I could offer any advice to you after having been in the financial industry for nearly 20 years, it would be to find an adviser who has a fiduciary duty to always put your best interests first. By choosing a truly independent, fee-only registered investment adviser who is not affiliated with any bank, brokerage firm, or insurance company, your adviser will be working only for you and their other clients, and no one else. But even then you still have some important questions to ask.
Is the adviser a CFP professional? When it comes to financial planning, the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) credential is the only one that really carries any weight. Any advisor who is serious about financial planning should have that credential, and obviously the longer they have had it, the better. Who would you rather work with - someone who is not a CFP professional, who only recently became a CFP professional, or who has held that credential for nearly 15 years?
How long has the adviser been in business, and has that business always been dedicated to being a truly independent, fee-only registered investment adviser? Many advisers have only just recently tried to jump on the bandwagon of being independent and fee-only, with some being "fee-based" because they still can't give up their commissions. A business that has been consistently fee-only for nearly 15 years proves commitment to its clients. Isn't that something you would want to look for?
What size company do you prefer to work with? A large company is always focused on bringing in more and more clients. You will work with one adviser one day, and a different adviser or their assistant the next. That adviser’s loyalty will always be to the company that signs his paycheck - not to you. Or do you prefer a one-on-one relationship, where you will always work with the same adviser who maintains a small client base in order to provide great service, is loyal to you, and whose paycheck you sign?What is the adviser's investment philosophy? Anyone who promises returns better than the market is either naive or lying just to get you as a client. Do you really want to gamble with your nest egg and have a significant chance of failing? Or would you rather invest intelligently, in a diversified and low cost way that takes full advantage of what the market provides in order to ultimately meet your goals?
Finally, isn't it crucial to find someone you trust who has a personality you are very comfortable with? Sometimes that's just a gut instinct, but the last thing you want to deal with is a fast-talker, arrogance, or someone you just don't have a good rapport with. An adviser should listen well and talk with you, not to you or over your head. This is someone you will hopefully be working with for many years to come. Shouldn't you make sure it's a good match before you start?
Good luck with your search. Please visit my website for more information regarding my investment management and financial planning services (www.WegnerAssetMgmt.com.WegnerAssetMgmt.com).
Shannon V Wegner, CFP
As President of Wegner Asset Management, I have been a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) for nearly 15 years. I started out in the financial industry over 20 years ago, having taught myself how to trade commodity futures and options while still in college. After receiving a double-major in both Economics and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I held positions at US Bank in Madison, Fidelity Investments in Boston, and Kaplan Financial Services in Boston.
Eventually I grew tired of seeing the financial industry take advantage of people and investors making the same mistakes over and over again. I wanted a better way to help people with their money. So I established Wegner Asset Management in 1998, which has always been a truly independent, fee-only practice since day one. I insist on never having more than 50 active clients at any one time, so I can offer personalized service that cannot be found at large firms that have hundreds of clients and teams of assistants. I believe in providing a comfortable and casual environment where every client can feel at ease discussing the private details of their finances.
Staying active in the professional financial planning community is important to me. I am a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and served on the board of the Southern Wisconsin chapter for 5 years. By also being a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), that ensures I not only have a fiduciary duty to my clients, but that I also take that duty very seriously. In addition to having been quoted in the national press, I have also been a recurring guest on Wisconsin Public Radio. On a side note, I am also a USPTA Certified Tennis Pro, and over the years have taught both locally and at resorts in the Caribbean.
Registrations, Licenses, Certifications & Affiliations
Securities Registrations or Exam Qualifications
Designations & Certifications
- CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®)
Proudly not affilated with any bank, brokerage firm, or insurance company.
Considerations: Please visit my website to view the advisory fee schedule
I will provide a free initial consultation to prospective clients so we may determine if their needs and my practice are well-matched.