6 Questions To Ask A Wealth Manager And The Answers You Want

The best wealth management firm in the Washington D.C. area will encourage you to ask as many questions as possible. You should feel a calming sense of confidence in the responses from any financial advisor. If there is hesitation or unclear answers, it may be in your best interest to keep looking.

This article will help better prepare you for interviewing a wealth manager and what questions to ask:

1. How long have you been a wealth manager?
2. On average, how long do your clients work with you?
3. What is your minimum asset requirement?
4. Do you serve as a fiduciary at all times?
5. Do you have a method or process to manage investments?
6. How often will you update my financial plan and portfolio?


Question 1. How long have you been a wealth manager (not education and training)?

Insight: If financial advisors in the Washington D.C. area dance around this number and flex their credentials, it’s a red flag. You are not interested in where they graduated college or obtained their licenses. You care about the longevity of their expertise in managing large amounts of assets.

Our point: You require a wealth manager and/or wealth management team with enough experience to feel safe knowing that you are in the best hands possible. Your portfolio should be upheld with respect, ongoing in-depth research, monitoring, and reporting.


Question 2. On average, how long do your clients work with you?

Man in a suit holding a red flag, mistakes to avoid when hiring a certified financial planner in the d.c. areaInsight: When investors feel like they are reaching their financial goals with the advisor in the driver’s seat, they aren’t going anywhere. Clients will gladly stay buckled up in the passenger seat for decades. You will trust your wealth manager more and more as the years pass and they prove to navigate the changing economy and market cycles with steadfast efforts.

Our point: Client commitment and longevity of relationships indicate that a wealth manager is worthy of earning your trust with your portfolio’s performance. If clients leave often, it’s a red flag: this professional might not be great at handling a particular aspect of what it takes to deliver white-glove services.


Question 3. What is your minimum asset requirement?

Insight: Wealth managers are generally responsible for managing larger amounts of wealth, assets, and investments. High-net-worth individuals and households require a financial advisor who works at that level.

Our point: If you’re the only HNW individual in their clientele, they might not have what it takes to support your kind of financial caliber. You require someone capable of amplifying your investment portfolio performance.


Question 4. Do you serve as a fiduciary at all times?

Insight: A fiduciary is upheld to the highest level of standard to protect clients. This means acting in your best interests at all times. Recommendations and advice should be focused on the outcome for you versus them, always.

A wealth manager should:

  • Disclose everything transparently and put your financial goals first
  • Suggest investment vehicles and their costs
  • Only propose action if it benefits you
  • Focus on optimizing your portfolio

Our point: There are various kinds of advisors out there, so make sure you know how they get paid and what type of pricing structure they work on: commission, fee-based, or fee only. As a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor in the Washington D.C. area, at Brown | Miller, everything is on the table at all times.

We can advise and orchestrate all aspects of your financial life:


Question 5. Do you have a method or process to manage investments?

Insight: There is passive, active, strategic, and tactical investment management. Wealth management firms in the Washington D.C. area have different approaches, so make sure to look into this further, or call us to help explain the differences.

Infographic of the investment strategy of a wealth management firm washington dc, asset allocation, due diligence, portfolio construction, and risk management.Our point: Whether your goal is to build wealth, purchase a home, donate to charities, leave a legacy behind, enjoy a cozy retirement, save for a child’s education, etc., our team can help you grow and preserve wealth.

We take a four-pronged approach to managing your investments:

  1. Asset  allocation strategy
  2. Due diligence
  3. Portfolio  construction
  4. Monitoring/risk management

We believe in global diversification using a combination of ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks for your portfolio (as appropriate). The ultimate objective is to help you reach your financial goals with the highest probability of success with the least amount of risk.


6. How often will you update my financial plan?

Insight: Sadly, many wealth managers have a set it and forget it method, which is not how wealth should be managed. You should not be just another number; you deserve to be prioritized and tended to.

Our point: Once a year is not enough – a lot can happen in the financial markets and your life within a year. If they don’t update your plan quarterly, it’s a red flag. To maintain peace of mind well into your golden years and preserve long-term wellness within your portfolio, you require a wealth manager who updates your plan quarterly.

This allows us to:

  • Check-in with you
  • Update your financial goals
  • Continuously update your asset allocation
  • Adjust your financial plan based on significant life changes
  • Adjust your holdings based on market changes
  • Walk through your long-term projections



Don’t paint the red flags white – you deserve boutique style service with a well- established and credible team of professionals on your side.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only, and not to be a client-specific suitability analysis or recommendation, an offer to participate in any investment, or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell securities. Do not use this report as the sole basis for investment decisions. Do not select an asset class or investment product based on performance alone. Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment time horizon. This report is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any individual security, market sector, or the markets generally.
The information provided in this article represents the opinions of Brown Miller Wealth Management (“BMWM”) and is expressed as of the date hereof and is subject to change. BMWM assumes no obligation to update or otherwise revise our opinions or this article. The observations and views expressed herein may be changed by BMWM at any time without notice. The information may be based on third-party information, which is deemed reliable, but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.
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Author: Christopher W. Brown, CFP®, CIMA®

Christopher W. Brown is the Founder and Managing Principal at Brown | Miller Wealth Management.