Current Issue / DU Alumni

Alumnus offers advice on picking a financial adviser

Recent market activity has forced investors to examine their investment strategies. The volatility provides an opportunity for people to evaluate how much risk they can withstand and reminds them that financial health must be constantly assessed.

It’s also a good time to make sure your financial adviser is familiar with your unique circumstances. With complex issues like wealth management in a volatile market, a close relationship will produce better returns because your adviser truly understands your needs. The adviser transitions from a wealth consultant to a wealth advocate.

There are three characteristics to evaluate when selecting an investment adviser: effective listening, account approach and proactive asset allocation.

First, an adviser may make imprudent investments if he doesn’t carefully listen to his client’s story. This includes family dynamics, legacy ideas and charitable interests. Having a thorough understanding of the client’s goals, beliefs and circumstances is paramount when creating a customized plan.

Second, having a team of experts focused on the client’s wealth is instrumental. The team approach provides access to multiple professionals who understand client goals and can bring specific expertise to the investor’s overall financial well-being.

Finally, asset allocation must be forward-looking and nimble in order to react to the fast-paced environment of information transfer and the ever-increasing global market. History can be a useful indicator, but if a wealth manager is making decisions solely based on what has happened before, he will undoubtedly miss what is occurring right in front of him. Your relationship with your investment adviser is one of the most important business partnerships you will ever have. When choosing an adviser, it is wise to consider who best understands your unique wealth management needs and will serve as an advocate in making financial dreams a reality.

John Trujillo (BSBA ’95) is a senior portfolio manager with UMB Asset Management in Denver. E-mail him at

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