North American markets remained stagnant over the first three weeks of 2009, even as unemployment numbers continued to swell, housing prices dropped and governments bickered over solutions to these problems. Such negativity caused North American stock markets to experience the most volatility ever recorded.

As an investor grappling with record market volatility, to whom can you turn to help you invest your money? It is times like these, where investors really need the help of a professional investment adviser to guide them through the ups and downs of the market. The most important question is how do you know that your adviser is doing a good job and that you have the right person to advise you?

The number one quality of an exceptional investment adviser is that the adviser thinks about the client first. They are not worried about how they will get paid but instead are concerned about how their client’s goals and objectives will be met. Some investors incorrectly look at the letters behind an adviser’s name, or at how big their business may be. Although education and size of business are important, they are not as important as finding the right person that you can trust and that will watch out for your best interests ahead of everything else.

You want to work with an advisor that follows and understands the markets. You don’t want someone that passes off the responsibility of your account to someone else (i.e. mutual fund or third party manager). Your adviser should understand what is happening on Bay and Wall Streets and be able to explain why the market is behaving as it is.

It is paramount that you deal with an investment adviser that provides exceptional service. When you have a question and need clarification, your adviser should be there to provide answers. An adviser should be front and centre -- especially in volatile times like today, when investors need direction and a plan to weather these markets and to get them back to profitability.

If you think that your investments are not being looked after, you are probably right and you deserve better! There are many good quality advisers that provide excellent service, follow and understand the markets, and put the needs of their clients first. As an investor, you should be searching for an adviser that has these qualities.

If you have any questions regarding the above article or are looking for an investment adviser to help you with your portfolio, please send me an email at I will be glad to speak with you.

Allan Small is an Investment Advisor with Dundee Securities
Corporation, a DundeeWealth Inc. Company. This is not an official
publication of Dundee Securities and the author is not a Dundee
Securities analyst. The views expressed are those of the author alone,
and are not necessarily those of Dundee Securities or Metro.