Who do you let handle your money? Featured

10:02am EDT July 22, 2002

Does it seem that half of America's downsized executives have repotted themselves for a second career as a financial planner?

Before you engage their services or those of related professionals, check out their backgrounds. The Securities & Exchange Commission - (800) 732-0330 - can advise you if they are a registered investment adviser, and if any complaints have been lodged against them. State insurance commissions can check if they're licensed to sell insurance, and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards - (888) CFP-MARK - can disclose if they're currently licensed and have ever been disciplined for violations.

Those inquiries are all free. But perhaps one of the best places to check someone's background is with an organization which charges for its services, the National Fraud Exchange-(800) 822-0416, ext. 33-a one-stop shop for looking into the track records of brokers, financial planners, real estate agents, trust advisers and other financial professionals. NFE background checks cost $39 for the first individual, $20 for any additional checks.