While the gossip of the moment is about the fiduciary standard, it’s important to realize that people can fall victim to bad financial advice, even from a fiduciary. Most fee-only financial planners are registered as investment advisers.
Every registered investment advisor (RIA) is required to file form ADV, which contains a lot of information. RIAs are also required to register with either a state regulatory office or the Securities & Exchange Commission.
These regulatory offices are responsible for ensuring that RIAs comply with federal and state laws. They should also be your first checking point to ensure:
- The person you’re about to hire is actually registered and that they are who they say they are
- You know of any disclosures that might impact your decision to hire this person. Disclosures can range from conflicts of interest to financial issues (like bankruptcy), to criminal convictions. You know, things that might make you want to NOT hire this person.
Below is a list of the regulatory websites by state, as well as the SEC’s website.
Securities & Exchange Commission: Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Note: You can find any ADV on this website. However, if your adviser is registered with a state (and not the SEC), then you will need to file any complaints with your state’s regulatory office.
Alabama: Alabama Securities Commission
Alaska: State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development-Securities
Arizona: Arizona Corporation Commission Securities Division
Arkansas: Arkansas Securities Department
California: Broker-Dealers, State Investment Advisers, and SEC Investment Advisers
Colorado: Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies-Investment Advisers & Investment Adviser Representatives
Connecticut: Department of Banking: State-Registered Investment Advisers
Delaware: Delaware Investors Protection Unit
Florida: Florida Office of Financial Regulation: Division of Securities
Georgia: Georgia Department of Banking & Finance: Securities/Investments
Illinois: Office of the Illiinois Secretary of State: State-Registered Investment Advisers
Indiana: Indiana Secretary of State Securities Division
Iowa: Iowa Insurance Division
Kansas: Kansas Office of the Securities Commissioner
Kentucky: Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions: Investment Advisers & Representatives
Louisiana: Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions Securities Division
Maine: Maine Office of Professional & Financial Regulation: Office of Securities
Maryland: Maryland Attorney General: Securities Division
Massachusetts: Massachusetts Securities Division
Michigan: Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs: Complaints
Minnesota: Minnesota Department of Commerce Securities Unit
Mississippi: Mississippi Secretary of State: Securities
Missouri: Missouri Secretary of State Investor Protection & Securities
Montana: Montana State Auditor Securities Department
Nebraska: Nebraska Office of Banking & Finance: Investment Advisers & Investment Adviser Representatives
Nevada: Nevada Secretary of State: Securities Licensing & Registration
New Hampshire: New Hampshire Secretary of State: Securities Registration
New Jersey: New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs: Bureau of Securities
New Mexico: New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department: Securities Division
New York: Attorney General: Investment Advisers
North Carolina: North Carolina Secretary of State: Securities Division
North Dakota: North Dakota Securities Department
Ohio: Ohio Department of Commerce: Securities
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Securities Division
Oregon: Oregon Division of Financial Regulation
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Department of Banking & Securities
Rhode Island: Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation: Securities
South Carolina: South Carolina Attorney General: Registration of Investment Advisors
South Dakota: South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation: Division of Insurance & Securities Regulation
Tennessee: Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance: Securities
Texas: Texas State Securities Board
Utah: Utah Department of Commerce: Division of Securities
Vermont: Vermont Department of Financial Regulation: Securities Division
Virginia: Virginia State Corporation Commission: Division of Securities & Retail Franchising
Washington: Washington State Department of Financial Institutions
West Virginia: West Virginia Securities Commission
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions: Securities
Wyoming: None. Wyoming investment advisers are regulated by the Securities & Exchange Commission.
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