[Update on Aug. 10, 2021: The Advice-Only Directory is available for signup now.]
A government agency in another state sent me a letter in April saying they received information that I may be engaging in the business of providing investment advice in their state without a certificate from their agency. I replied telling them that I didn’t provide any investment advice when I only helped people find advisor candidates and I wasn’t getting paid by any financial advisor. I suspended my service out of an abundance of caution while I waited for the resolution of this matter with the state agency.
I received another letter yesterday from this agency telling me that my response “satisfactorily addressed those concerns.”
While I’m happy to hear the result, this episode exposed a vulnerability in my service model. Because I was offering a personalized service, it wasn’t clear to a regulatory agency that my service had nothing to do with offering investment advice for compensation. The agency had to ask, I had to respond, and I felt compelled to suspend my service in good faith while the inquiry was open. Although this state agency cleared me, there are 50 other state agencies. I can’t afford distractions like this.
In order to make it crystal clear to the next regulatory agency that I’m not offering personalized investment advice, I’m changing my service to an online directory. You pay a membership fee to access the names and information of all the financial advisors who meet my screening criteria. You’ll decide which advisors you’ll contact. Everyone sees the same directory. You narrow it down to a handful of candidates yourself. Because you know yourself better than I do, your choices are probably better than mine anyway. You also won’t be limited to a handful of candidates when you have access to the entire directory.