5 Qualifications Your Virginia Financial Advisor Should Have

By: Michael Colliano

Virginia is one of the top states in the country when it comes to the amount of personal income that its residents have. That's why there are so many financial advisors clamoring for your business!

But if you want to make sure your money's in the right hands, you've got to find a Virginia financial advisor that comes with these 5 qualifications:

1. The right registration

In Virginia, the rules for financial advisors are very simple -- if you make money giving people investment advice, you have to register with the State Corporation Commission.

Plus, each Virginia financial advisor can only be registered with one company, so if you stumble on some "jack-of-all-trades" who claims to work for a few different firms (or worse, someone who isn't registered at all), run! If this person can't be on the up-and-up when it comes to basic requirements, you certainly can't trust him with your nest egg!

2. The right licensing

Again, the state has made it very clear -- people have to have a license if they want to be a lawfully-registered Virginia financial advisor. To get that license, your advisor will have to either pass a series of tests or prove that he's exempt from those tests because he's got certain professional designations.

3. The right designation

In order to provide financial investment advice the person must be a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 defines "Registered Investment Advisor" as a "person or firm that, for compensation, is engaged in the act of providing advice, making recommendations, issuing reports or furnishing analyses on securities, either directly or through publications." An RIA's primary obligation is to provide informed investment advice that is tailored to the client's needs and goals. A Registered Investment Adviser is also charged with the responsibility of managing assets in a way that is in the client’s best interest. Stockbrokers have no such legal responsibility.”

4. The right title

There is a huge difference between a "stockbroker" and a "financial advisor", so don't confuse the two! If you do, it can seriously impact the money you make.

How so?

Stockbrokers typically get a commission for whatever they can convince you to buy. Good Arlington financial advisors, on the other hand, base their fee on the total worth of your portfolio. In most cases, you'll pay your Virginia financial advisor a percentage of what your assets are worth. As a result, financial advisors have much more incentive to suggest things that work -- rather than to just try and sell you the most expensive stuff!

5. The right attitude

Some financial advisors only want to work with very wealthy clients. But what if you're just an "Average Joe" who wants a nest egg to retire with one day? Are you out of luck?


You simply need to find a Virginia financial advisor that's got a proven track record of helping all kinds of people build successful portfolios. Look for an advisor that happily takes on deep and not-so-deep pockets. Otherwise, you'll simply get lost in the shuffle whenever a bigger bank account comes along!

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Michael Del Colliano is Vice President of Westbourne Investments Inc.. Michael is a Virginia financial advisor, licensed Life Insurance Agent, active account portfolio manager, and participates in the day-to-day operations of Westbourne Investments. He also has in-depth knowledge about how Arlington financial advisors should work.

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