One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is how you want to work with LPL Financial. LPL Financial is a registered investment advisor and a broker/dealer, which means that an LPL advisor can offer you both investment advisory and brokerage services.
Make sure you understand what each type of service entails when determining which will best help you pursue your investment goals. Learn more by reading Working with an LPL Financial Advisor: The Choice Between Advisory Services and Brokerage Services.
Your initial meeting with your LPL advisor is a great time to get know your advisor and ask questions. Download A Guide to Preparing for Your First Meeting with Your Financial Advisor. It can help you prepare for your first advisor meeting and offers helpful information that you may wish to draw upon as you move into the investing process.
Before any investing takes place, you’ll sign a new account agreement with your LPL advisor. Don’t sign it unless you thoroughly understand and agree with the terms and conditions it imposes on you. Don’t rely on verbal representations from your advisor that aren’t contained in the agreement.
To complete the agreement, you’ll need to make some critical decisions, such as:
1. Who will control the decision-making?
You can control the investment decisions made in your account, or give discretionary authority to your advisor to make them for you.
Discretionary authority allows a third party — your advisor — to make investment decisions based on what he or she believes is best for you. Your advisor doesn’t have to consult you regarding the price, type of security, amount, or when to buy or sell. Don’t give discretionary authority to your advisor or anyone else without considering whether this arrangement is appropriate for you.
2. How much risk should you assume?
You’ll also need to specify your overall investment objective in terms of risk. Risk is the possibility of losing some, or all, of the money you invest. Be sure that the risk level you choose accurately reflects your investment goals.
If you have a high-risk tolerance, you’re probably more willing to risk losing money to get potentially better results. If you have a low risk tolerance, you’ll probably lean towards investments that maintain your original investment.
Your advisor will also talk to you about other forms you may need to complete.
If you haven’t already selected an LPL advisor, you can find one by using the LPL Find an Advisor tool.