By Karyn McCormack and Lauren Young
When it comes to selecting a financial adviser fancy academic degrees, posh offices, and a big client portfolio may be impressive, but knowledge and skill are what distinguish an outstanding adviser from a good adviser. "Anybody who claims to be an expert in investing had better have a lot of experience," says Jack Waymire, founder of the Paladin Registry, a service that ranks financial advisers for individual investors.
BusinessWeek asked Waymire to comb the Paladin database of more than 1,000 independent financial advisers for the most seasoned pros. Advisers, who are scored on a 100-point system, receive the maximum number of points for 15 years of experience. (Many of the top-ranked advisers on BusinessWeek's list have 20-plus years in the trenches.) They also get top scores if they hold at least two major certifications, such as Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner.
To be included in the registry, advisers need to have a clean compliance record. They must be independent with fees as the primary form of compensation.
The search yielded 50 advisers with a combined almost 900 years of experience. BusinessWeek spoke with 14 of these veteran advisers about how they are positioning their client's portfolios right now: