What does my broker's title mean?
By Sean Sweeney on November 18, 2013
When we select a stockbroker or investment advisor it is often because you knew them in some other capacity or they were recommended by a friend. The question has to be asked though, what do all of those letters and different titles actually mean? Which ones were earned and which ones require some training before they can be claimed? Its important to understand just what kind of an expert your broker may (or may not) be when it comes to handling your investments.
The SEC recently put out a bulletin trying to help investors make sense of the various professional titles they see from brokers and investment advisors. Looking at FINRA’s “Professional Designations” list, which allows you to look up what each title or acronym means, I counted up no less than 140 different titles from Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) and Financial Risk Manager (FRM) to Wealth Management Specialist (WMS).
It’s a confusing market place which requires investors to do their due diligence when deciding to work with a money manager or broker. Be sure you find out what their title is, and how they got it. It’s also important to run a CRD through FINRA’s Broker check to see if anyone has complained before, filed a FINRA Arbitration against the broker previously, or if s/he has been disciplined by a regulatory agency in the past.
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