Follow Us:

Have Questions?
We have Answers

Click Here to send us a question
and to receive answers from our Experts

Maintaining Your Senior's Investment Portfolio Security

by Chris Cooper, Financial Planning Expert
June 04, 2015

Question: My father’s accountant reached out to me about his portfolio. He mentioned there had been no activity for years. I don’t have much information about this. What steps should I take?

Answer: There is a possible hidden agenda here. Accountants often observe their clients and their clients transactions at tax season. But now accountants are often hidden employees of securities broker/dealers, and have not disclosed this fact to you. So, the accountant may be a sales person of annuities and mutual funds, so he has reached out to you looking for some commissions.

Broker/dealers do not manage customer accounts. So the observation that there has not been any “activity for years” could mean no one is professionally managing your father’s account. Managing investment portfolios is the job for Registered Investment Advisors, which are fiduciaries, and not sales people of broker/dealers (called Registered Representatives) which are NOT fiduciaries.

So the first step to do here is to ask the accountant “are you a representative of a securities broker/dealer (you can find this out on, an insurance agent, or a solicitor of a Registered Investment Advisor?  If he/she is, then be careful. If he is not, congratulate him and thank him for his concern.

Next, if you do not have a power of attorney to handle your father’s affairs, then you and your Dad need to talk about that with your Dad’s attorney (and if Dad doesn’t have one, then you may need to help Dad to get a referral). Then you can get information directly from the financial institutions where your father has his money, insurance and investments.

Then have your father’s portfolio review by a Fee Only financial advisor. A fee only financial advisor does not accept commissions or payments from third parties, so they act in a fiduciary capacity. See or for a referral in your area. 

Chris Cooper is the owner and founder of Chris Cooper & Company, Inc., a fee-only financial planning firm for elderly persons and the owner and founder of ElderCare Advocates, Inc. a private geriatric care management and long term care consulting firm. As a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary, Chris can serve as  Conservator of the Person and Estate under court appointment,  as Agent under a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial matters and Health Care matters.

See more of Chris Cooper's expert answers

Your Answers and Comments

Post your answer or comment
You must be logged in to post a comment

Previous Expert Q & A

More Previous Expert Q&A