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Rope One In

How to spot the good, the bad, and the ugly when looking for a financial advisor.

Wasn't it Will Rogers who once said "I never met a financial advisor I didn't like"? No matter how likable your financial planner, there's more to a successful long-term relationship with a financial advisor than a few trades and a witty repartee. Financial magazines are filled with stories of gun-slinging, fast-talking hombres, making it sound as if there are more outlaws on Wall Street than there were in the wild, wild West. But don't worry, partner: Not every financial consultant learned the trade from Billy the Kid.

Elisse Walter, CEO and executive vice president of legal and regulatory policy for NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) Regulation Inc., contends, "A good industry is getting tarred by the conduct of a few bad apples." The majority of financial advisors value their clients and strive to help them reach their financial goals. The trick is learning to separate the wheat from the chaff. Surprisingly, it's a lot easier than learning how to rope a cow or break a bronco. It just takes a little, well, horse sense.

Lorayne Fiorillo is a financial advisor and first vice president at Prudential Securities Inc. She presents retirement planning and personal finance workshops worldwide. For more information, write to her in care of Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92614. All figures are courtesy of Prudential Securities. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.

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This article was originally published in the December 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Rope One In.

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