How to Choose A Financial Planner –
Tough Questions to Ask


  • What is your educational background?
    • Graduate degree Area of study: MS Financial Planning, and MBA
    • College degree Area of study: BS accounting

  • What are your financial planning credentials/designations and affiliations?
    • Certified Financial Planner ™  (30 hours of continuing education every 2 years)
    • NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor  (60 hours of continuing education every 2 years)
    • Financial Planning Association (FPA)

  • How long have you been offering financial planning services?
    • I started Morrill Financial Services offering personal financial planning in 2004 after 18 years in financial services associated with investment advisors

  • Do you have clients who might be willing to speak with me about your services?   Will you provide me with references from other professionals?
    • We maintain strict confidentiality with all aspects of client relationships  and this information is not shared with others

  • Have you ever been cited by a professional or regulatory governing body for disciplinary reasons?
    • No

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  • Describe your financial planning work experience
    • Since inception of MFS, I have worked with a number of clients providing all aspects of comprehensive financial planning.   I am still accepting new clients.  Prior to that, I was Vice President at a custody bank providing customer service to over 400 US investment managers to facilitate the investment of pension assets.  Other previous experience includes managing the investment accounting operation for an investment manger with $30 billion in mutual fund and pension assets.  I am also familiar with preparing individual tax returns.

  • Are you currently engaged in any other business, either as a sole proprietor, partner, officer, employee, trustee, agent or otherwise? (Exclude non-investment related activities which are exclusively charitable, civic, religious or fraternal and are recognized as tax-exempt.)
    • I have prepared individual tax returns

  • Will you or an associate of yours work with me?
    • I will 

  • Will you sign the Fiduciary Oath below?
    • Yes 

FIDUCIARY OATH
The advisor shall exercise his/her best efforts to act in good faith and in the best interests of the client. The advisor shall provide written disclosure to the client prior to the engagement of the advisor, and thereafter throughout the term of the engagement, of any conflicts of interest which will or reasonably may compromise the impartiality or independence of the advisor.
The advisor, or any party in which the advisor has a financial interest, does not receive any compensation or other remuneration that is contingent on any client's purchase or sale of a financial product. The advisor does not receive a fee or other compensation from another party based on the referral of a client or the client's business.

  • Do you have a business continuity plan?
    • I currently work as a sole proprietor and have a plan in place for both business interruption and business dissolution.

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COMPENSATION


  • How is your firm compensated and how is your compensation calculated?
    • Financial Planning
      Hourly basis @ $125/hour or
      Negotiated fixed fee based on complexity and timeframe for planning
    • Asset Management
      .55% per year on assets of $2 million or less
      .45% for assets $2,000,001 to $10,000,000
      Negotiable on assets exceeding $10 million
      $2,000 minimum annual fee
    • Service agreement is required with $500 due at signing

  • Do you have an agreement describing your compensation and services that will be provided in advance of the engagement?
    • Yes

  • Do you have a minimum fee?
    • There is no minimum fee for financial planning services.  If asset management is implemented, the minimum annual fee is $2,000.  

  • If you earn commissions, approximately what percentage of your firm's commission income comes from? 
    • I do not earn commissions

  • Does any member of your firm act as a general partner, participate in, or receive compensation from investments you may recommend to me?
    • No

  • Do you receive referral fees from attorneys, accountants, insurance professionals, mortgage brokers, or others?
    • No

  • Do you receive on-going income from any of the mutual funds that you recommend in the form of "12(b)1" fees, "trailing" commissions, or other continuing payouts?
    • No

  • Are there financial incentives for you to recommend certain financial products?
    • No

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SERVICES

  • Services are offered in all the following areas
    • Retirement Planning
    • Education funding    
    • Cash management & budgeting              
    • Tax planning                              
    • Investment review & planning
    • Investment management
    • Estate planning
    • Insurance needs in the area of life, disability, long-term care, health and property/casualty
    • Budgeting and financial counseling

  • Do you provide a comprehensive written analysis of my financial situation and recommendations?
    • Yes

  • Does your financial planning service include recommendations for specific investments or investment products?
    • Yes, principal investments recommended are mutual funds and exchange traded funds

  • Do you offer assistance with implementation with the plan?  Do you offer continuous, on-going advice regarding my financial affairs, including advice on non-investment related financial issues?
    • Yes, all services are available and provided as mutually agreed upon

  • Do you take custody of, or have access to my assets?
    • No, all assets will remain in your name

  • If you were to provide me on-going investment advisory services, do you require "discretionary" trading authority over my investment accounts?
    • Discretionary authority is required to facilitate the trading process.

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REGULATORY COMPLIANCE

  • Federal and state laws require that, under most circum-stances, individuals or firms holding themselves out to the public as providing investment advisory services are required to be registered with either the U. S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) or the regulatory agency of the state in which the individual/firm conducts business.
    • I am a registered Investment Advisor with the state of Massachusetts

  • Please provide your Form ADV Part II or brochure being used in compliance with the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. 
    • Available via US mail.
       
  • Signature of Planner:  Wayne Morrill
    Firm Name: Morrill Financial Services

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