1. Due diligence on Advisors appearing in AdviceIQ
AIQ, Inc., publisher of AdviceIQ, performs due diligence on advisors utilizing its proprietary Regulatory Compliance Review, or RCR™. AdviceIQ’s RCR™ is unique and relatively stringent. The RCR™ audit begins by verifying that each advisor is indeed registered with a bona fide regulator. A screen is then run with the following regulators for each advisor: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), each advisor’s home state Insurance Commissioner and State Investment Advisor Representative regulator. The RCR™ audit checks to see if an advisor has any negative history with any of the above regulators. Unfortunately, there is precedent for advisors who have been banned by one regulator who re-appear under another regulator. AdviceIQ aims to exclude from its directory and rankings any advisor who has negative history with any regulatory agency.
AdviceIQ does not publish the names of advisors who fail the RCR™ background check, but those advisors are not granted participation in AdviceIQ rankings, profiles or contributed editorial content. We conduct the RCR™ due diligence annually for every advisor, at the time an advisor subscribes to AdviceIQ. AdviceIQ typically enters into an enterprise agreement with firms employing numerous advisors, with a certain number of those advisors participating in the service at a pre-determined discount. The AdviceIQ standard subscription fee is $995 per year per advisor. AIQ, Inc. does not guarantee that any given advisor’s status will stay the same, including in the periods between annual RCR™ audits. Moreover, AIQ, Inc. makes no warranty or representations that its RCR™ process will in fact catch every advisor who has negative regulatory history, or has been (or becomes) involved with any regulatory infraction, crime, illicit or unethical scheme. We apply our knowledge of advisor data and compliance to protect consumers, but do not vouch, recommend, endorse or guarantee any participating advisor.
2. Ranking methodologies
Each AdviceIQ article shows a corresponding ranking deemed relevant to the article by our editorial staff. Our rankings are based on the type of clients an advisor caters to, as determined by categories such as investable assets, client occupation, client life stage or other meaningful metric. AdviceIQ ranking metrics are either the largest number of clients, or the largest percentage of a type of client, relative to an advisor’s entire client base, or average account size). For example, when writing about financial planning for divorcees, our editors might show a ranking of advisors with the highest number of divorcees as clients. The advisor with the most divorcees will appear first, the advisor with the second greatest amount second, etc. By reviewing the profiles of each advisor ranked, readers can see the underlying data and the criteria for how an advisor ranked in a given order.
The rankings criteria and metrics are selected by our editorial team so that the rankings are relevant to the article and reader. Like other daily feature journalism sites, we do not alert anyone, including advisors, as to which ranking criteria or metrics will be used. As such, advisors cannot “game” the system in order to rank well. More broadly, AdviceIQ rankings are not controlled by the advisors, but rather are rendered anew per each article in a way that highlights each particular advisor’s core area of focus and specialty. AdviceIQ is designed to help investors better understand advisors and find advisors that are a good match. Accordingly, our rankings show the broadest spectrum of Advisors - large and small, niche and generalists, etc. Our rankings also change as advisors update their data, as well as when new advisors sign up with us. The universe of advisors ranked is dependent on the geography of the reader because all rankings are automatically created using geo-targeting technology. The number of advisors in a particular ranking equals the number of advisors seen. Generally, it is 20 advisors or less. Advisors pay a flat subscription fee of $995 per year to appear in AdviceIQ. AdviceIQ lists all advisors who have passed its RCR™audit , and, as such, does not represent the entire universe of financial advisors that exist.
Advisor-submitted articles are only published if the particular advisor passed AdviceIQ’s RCR™ due diligence. Advisor-submitted articles appear at the sole discretion of the editorial staff of AdviceIQ, and there is never a guarantee that a participating advisor will be published. Advisor rankings and the usage of advisor-generated content are in no way affected by any commercial relationship with AIQ, Inc. AdviceIQ maintains strict journalistic integrity and the trust of the reader is of paramount importance.
4. Data Integrity
Each participating firm’s compliance officer must review and approve all data submitted by each advisor. AdviceIQ also randomly spot-checks the data in an attempt to spot irregularities, and reserves the right to contact regulatory bodies if we believe an advisor has intentionally entered false information.