What are the different forms of Investment Management Advisors?


Full Service Brokers

Usually this is a person in a brokerage firm. This is someone you can call and who knows you, your
objectives, and your holdings. You should have online tools to access your account as well, but you can call this person. (click here for list)

Discount Brokers

These are usually on-line brokers. You may be able to speak to the same person, but it is unlikely you would meet with him or her. (click here for list)

Registered Investment Advisors (RIA's)

They will manage your money, but need to keep it at a custodian or broker. Typically, they are not broker dealers. They just get paid to manage money. Expect to pay their fee plus incidental trading and service fees for brokerage and custody, but these fees are probably lower than what you would pay on your own since they send volume trades to brokers. (click here for list)

Trust Companies

If you have any trusts in your financial plan, you may need to talk to a trust company. Regulators require them to act as a "prudent man", diversify your investments, and buy quality stuff. This is a higher standard than for other money managers. If they lose your money, you have a good chance to get it back through a claim or suit. You can also hire them as investment manager for your non trust assets. Plan to pay their fees plus incidental trading and service fees, but at discounted institutional rates.
(click here for list)

Robo Advisors

This is a new generation of online services which will manage your money for very low fees. Expect to interact with a website as opposed to a person. A computer will manage your money based on your response to questionnaires. Holdings are often low cost mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETF’s). (click here for list)