Frequently Asked Questions
What is AdviceIQ?
AdviceIQ is an online service that educates all consumers about the need to hire a trusted, local Advisor, while giving all pre-vetted Advisors exposure to local investors. Also, our Advisors write insightful articles that inform the public about investing and wealth management, and we syndicate them to top-branded media sites around the country.
What is AdviceIQ’s mission?
To educate the 50 million non-advised U.S. households (according to Cerulli Associates) on how to find a local Advisor with a clean regulatory history, who meets their needs. We also educate existing Advisor clients on how to deal with and get the most benefit from their Advisors.
How does AdviceIQ showcase Advisors?
We do this in four ways:
1. Profiles – By completing AdviceIQ’s simple online questionnaire, an Advisor’s rich professional profile (I.e. the details about what makes them unique) become available to all prospects. This online “resume” is visible to clients and prospects at www.AdviceIQ.com as well as on the numerous high-traffic, well-branded sites that we syndicate to.
2. Rankings – Based on the detailed fields in your profile, AdviceIQ publishes ongoing rankings on our partner sites. Our rankings are objective and local – all highlighting Advisors’ core specialties.
3. Articles – We publish ongoing real-life stories that show the public how to effectively use Advisors. Many of these stories are written by AdviceIQ’s in-house editorial staff, but the majority are submitted directly by member Advisors. AdviceIQ is a platform for any passionate, domain-expert Advisor to publish his/her best stories directly on some of the top-branded media sites in the country.
4. RCR™ – Inclusion in the AdviceIQ directory means you’ve passed our proprietary Regulatory Compliance Review (RCR™). We function as a third party audit that attests to your clean regulatory record.
How are Advisors ranked?
Our rankings are objective, transparent and local. We rank Advisors based on three core client-focus categories: Occupation, Life Stage and Portfolio Size. For example, “Top Small Business Advisors in Dayton Ohio” might rank Advisors based on their respective numbers of small business clients. An Advisor with 43 small business clients might rank #1, an Advisor with 39 #2, etc. Alternatively, Advisors might be ranked by other relevant metrics such as largest percentage, largest AUM, or largest (or smallest) average account size of a particular client type.
How do you get the data in order to rank Advisors?
Advisors complete a questionnaire that takes about 20 minutes to fill out. The compliance officer at each firm then approves the profile before it is published.
How does AdviceIQ, and the general public, know the data can be trusted?
Each firm’s compliance officer must attest to the legitimacy of the data appearing in an Advisor’s profile. In addition, our agreement with each Advisor requires them to personally attest to the accuracy of their information. Our firm also randomly spot-checks Advisor data to look for dubious information, and we reserve the right to alert regulatory bodies and law enforcement if we suspect any Advisor has submitted fraudulent data. Consumer trust is of paramount importance to us, and we will aid any regulatory investigation if we believe an Advisor has used our service improperly.
Won’t the largest AUM Advisors always rank highest?
No! We create thousands of rankings so that all sizes of Advisors appear in many rankings. For example, “Top Advisors in Albany, N.Y., to investors with quarter-million and bellow portfolios” may show the #1 Advisor having far less in AUM than the Advisor ranked #15. This particular ranking highlights the number of clients, not AUM. We publish numerous rankings all focused on connecting Advisors to suitable Investors, and AUM is often NOT the primary criteria.
How many rankings will an Advisor appear in?
An Advisor will appear in multiple rankings throughout the year. His or her number of rankings, and therefore degree of online visibility, will be driven by the number of daily articles and associated rankings that we publish, number of participating Advisors, and number of syndicated media sites that carry AdviceIQ rankings and content. We want Advisors to appear in as many—and as frequent—rankings as possible.
If an Advisor doesn’t care about rankings, why should he or she participate?
AdviceIQ is more than just the local rankings! Advisors will want to highlight to clients and prospects the very fact that they are listed in the AdviceIQ directory, since AdviceIQ only accepts Advisors who pass our proprietary due diligence. Our regulatory review is the most comprehensive compliance background check in the industry. Simply belonging to AdviceIQ highlights an Advisor’s clean record, which is vital in today’s post-Madoff era. Also, Advisors will want to use the reprints from their rankings in their marketing kit – existing clients and prospects will appreciate that an Advisor’s professional profile and credentials are posted online in a compliance-conforming directory. An Advisor’s AdviceIQ online profile highlights to clients/prospects that an independent, 3rd party firm has validated him or her as a trusted Advisor.
How do the local rankings work mechanically?
If you ever received a web pop-up ad for any local service, you’ve already experienced this so-called geo-targeting technology. When you visit a website, there is computer code that reads your local IP Address. AdviceIQ rankings work the same way: The code approximates your zip code, and then delivers local area rankings.
How do I know the rankings are not biased?
Our editors decide which rankings to use at the time of publishing each article. Given that each day new Advisors subscribe and new articles are written, our editors don’t know until moments before publishing who will rank high or low. In addition, as Advisors add or update their professional profile and client makeup, rankings will change automatically. The criteria are fully disclosed (see “How are Advisors ranked?”). Moreover, the rankings are all geo- targeted (see How do local rankings work mechanically?), so we have no way of knowing how someone will rank until we publish a particular article and ranking.
Who writes the articles?
All articles are edited by our Editorial Staff. The team is lead by former Wall Street Journal senior editor, Larry Light. Roughly 80% of the raw content will come directly from subscribing Advisors, with 20% coming from AdviceIQ’s editorial staff. Our editorial team has complete independence from the business side of AdviceIQ – known as a “Chinese Wall.” Our editors are free to choose which Advisor-contributed articles they publish. The journalistic independence of AdviceIQ is a cornerstone of the firm and ensures consumer trust.
How are the articles and rankings connected?
Our editorial team publishes multiple articles daily. When they are ready to publish an article, the edit team decides which ranking category is the most relevant to the article. For example, if we are publishing an article on 401k plans for medical practices, the data point we rank on could be the number of doctor clients the Advisor has, and the ranking metric could be smallest average account size – e.g. if the article is focused on startup medical practices.
Isn’t this just “Pay to Play”, or at best a conflicted ranking?
No! Every Advisor pays the same $995 fee per year, regardless of how the Advisor ranks and regardless of the amount of articles contributed or published.
What if an Advisor is not a writer – why should he or she participate?
An Advisor does not need to be a great writer to contribute, but must have valuable insights for readers. We have professional writers that can turn raw content into world-class articles – either “by-lined” by you or quoting you at length as an expert. AdviceIQ is a powerful media platform that enables Advisors to broadcast original content on topics where you are passionate, have domain expertise, or have seen— and likely influenced—client success stories. And beyond the Advisor-contributed content, there is real value to AdviceIQ in the rankings. Investors simply love to read rankings, which in themselves give Advisors great exposure. In addition, there is real value in simply having gained entry into the AdviceIQ directory, as it attests that an Advisor has passed the most stringent due diligence in the industry. Finally, by including reprints of an Advisor’s rankings in his or her marketing kit and other collateral, clients and prospects will see third-party validation of an Advisor’s clean record.
What exactly does “syndicated rankings and content” mean?
AdviceIQ rankings and associated articles are not published with the assumptions that the broad consumer public will visit our site (www.AdviceIQ.com). Instead, we place our content and rankings where the online eyeballs already reside – i.e. the popular high-traffic sites such as The Online Investor, Retail Traffic, National Real Estate Investor and Lodging Hospitality. The last three are sites catering to wealthy individuals. We also target syndication deals with hundreds of local sites and print publications so we reach niche and regional investors. Our articles also are carried on the Motley Fool and Morningstar. We publish our Advisor articles and rankings for the express purpose of “pushing” that content broadly onto all partner media sites. That way the Advisor gets the most visibility and press, and can reference his or her profile at sites that all clients and prospects already go to. The Motley Fool, Bankrate, and numerous DowJones indexes are examples of 3rd party syndicated content that appears broadly on hundreds of partner media sites and publications. AdviceIQ is the same idea.
What kind of due diligence do you perform?
We use our proprietary Regulatory Compliance Review (“RCR”), whereby the regulatory history of each subscribing Advisor is checked against the four primary U.S. regulators: FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), State Investment Advisor Representative Regulatory Office, and State Insurance Commissioner. We check every Advisor with all four because of cases where Advisors were disqualified with one regulator, only to register with a different one (having “forgotten” to disclose the prior ban!). If the Advisor has any negative history with any of these four regulatory bodies, the Advisor is not granted entry in AdviceIQ, will not appear in rankings and will not be eligible to submit content to our Editorial Team. At the same time, we never disclose names of Advisors who fail our regulatory review. The point in the RCR process is not to report any Advisor who fails the review, but rather enable Advisors who pass to gain credibility and trust with online editors and the general public.
Who do I contact to register or to get more information?
You can register and fill out your profile at www.AdviceIQ.com. For customer support questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our toll free customer support number, (855)247-0001.