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Frequently Asked Questions

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Before You Invest!

Q: What is the difference between a stockbroker, investment adviser and a financial planner? 

It is important to know the differences between financial service providers.  Stockbrokers (also called brokers, broker-dealer agents, financial advisers, investment consultants, securities salespeople, or registered representatives) sell securities and other investment products and receive a sales commission for the transaction. Stockbrokers are obligated to sell you securities that are suitable for you based upon factors such as risk tolerance, age, and investment goals. 


Investment adviser representatives give advice about securities and other investment products and provide ongoing management of investments based on clients’ objectives. Investment advisers have a fiduciary responsibility to put clients’ interests ahead of their own when providing investment advice.

Financial planners design an overall plan for their clients to save, invest, and manage their money. Planners who provide specific investment advice—such as recommending particular financial products or investments—must be registered or licensed as investment adviser representatives and are subject to a fiduciary duty.

Whether you choose a stockbroker, investment adviser, or financial planner, make certain to verify the person’s registration or license, background, and employment history by contacting the Securities Division's Investigator on Duty by telephone at 602-542-0662 or by email,

Read more about the
differences between investment professionals and the questions you should ask before you hand over your money.


 The information provided on this website is not comprehensive, is not offered as legal advice, and is not a substitute for competent legal counsel. The Securities Division provides this information to give you an overview of the topics discussed. You should not rely on the accuracy of this information, but should carefully review all applicable statutes and regulations with the assistance of legal counsel.