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Dec 28, 2020

Financial Advisor Rankings

Is your Financial Advisor nationally ranked by Barron’s or The Wall Street Journal? If not, should you change to one who is? The answer is probably not. Over the past decade, these two highly respected publishers have done a remarkably good job shifting the emphasis of their rankings away from revenue and assets-under-management to more qualitative measures. That said, financial media publishers still prefer to measure and rank the biggest and most productive Financial Advisors. The unintended consequence is the exclusion of so many well-deserving mid-tier Financial Advisors who run respected financial planning-based practices.

I wonder how readers would feel if a highly respected newspaper published a national ranking of Top Surgeons that used annual “revenue” as one of its primary criteria. I think most readers would be disappointed and understandably so. Surgical success, not revenue, is what really matters to patients and families.

The best way to evaluate Financial Advisors is by attainment of client goals. For example, has the Financial Advisor’s clients achieved their college or retirement savings goal based on his/her advice? Granted, it would be too arduous and complex a task for any third party to measure and rank the success of advisors in this manner.
But while current rankings help sell newspapers and generate revenue for the media company, it’s a lost opportunity to spotlight how “Success” should be measured. The size of a practice doesn’t correlate to the skill of an advisor to understand his clients’ needs and ability to help them achieve their financial and investment goals.

If your Financial Advisor has done a financial plan and knows your goals (e.g., college, retirement, estate planning, etc.), then you’re likely working with the right professional. Even better, if he or she tracks your annual progress relative to those goals, you’re working with one of the industry’s best Financial Advisors. Period.

Paul Sullivan
Founder and Managing Partner
Wealth Management Independence