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The Right Questions To Ask For Financial Advice You Can Trust


April 19,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ Many people looking for good investments or hoping to save for retirement are wary of the very financial professionals who can help them reach their goals.

That was illustrated once again recently by the 2016 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient Report, which showed that just 37 percent of people surveyed believe the financial-services industry has a solid reputation.

The good news is that’s an improvement from past surveys. The bad news is that the pharmaceutical industry, the tobacco industry and government are the only ones with worse reputations.

Skepticism about the profession may sting a little, but there’s nothing wrong with caution when shopping for a financial professional, says Lou Desepoli, president of Desepoli Wealth Management (

“It’s important for investors to do their homework,” Desepoli says. “Don’t be timid about asking questions. A financial professional should answer any questions you have, and they should be able to provide details about fees, fiduciary standards and a client bill of rights.”

Mike Desepoli, Lou’s son and a wealth adviser at Desepoli Wealth Management, says all financial professionals may work with the same market conditions, but that doesn’t mean they are all created equal.

“How they assess, evaluate and react to the market is what sets one adviser apart from another,” he says.

The Desepolis say just a few of the topics an investor should broach when looking for an adviser include:


  • Fee transparency.

Ask how they are paid for the investments they recommend. Are they paid commissions on investments or other products they sell? Do they receive payments from mutual funds or investment companies they recommend? “What you’re trying to determine is whether they push investments that are more beneficial to them than they are to you,” Mike Desepoli says. “It’s best if the firm just charges a fee based on the value of the assets they manage for you. That makes it in their best interest for your portfolio to grow.”

  • Regulatory controls.

Find out what safeguards they have in place to protect against fraud. Have they ever been disciplined for unlawful or unethical actions? How do they ensure the firm remains in compliance with legal and regulatory statutes?

  • Experience and credentials.

The products an adviser can sell and the investment advice they can give are tied to their credentials. So find out what licenses and certifications they have.


“Most people spend more time shopping for a car than they do a financial adviser,” Lou Desepoli says. “But you want to be an informed consumer when it comes to who will handle your life savings. That person’s investment philosophy, their client-service philosophy and how they communicate with clients are all topics worth asking about.”

About Lou Desepoli

Lou Desepoli is the president and founder of Desepoli Wealth Management ( He has more than 30 years’ experience in investment management, financial planning and tax consulting. He is also a CPA.

About Mike Desepoli

As a wealth adviser for Desepoli Wealth Management, Mike Desepoli serves as a wealth management resource to business owners and executives, assisting them in making proactive, personal financial decisions.