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Rope One In

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

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This story appears in the December 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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.

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