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Expert Q&A Archive

01/27/2009
How do I check that a brokerage or a pension company is in good standing and trustworthy?
How do I check that a brokerage or a pension company is in good standing and trustworthy?

The thing is I have had a Roth IRA with a particular company for 4 years now. It was referred to me by my boss way back, but I realize I never did do a background check on it.
I need to put in my 08 contribution, but would like to make sure it's all in good standing before I contribute.

The money sits in an almost zero interest account while I am trying to figure out what I should invest it in. I know that is not productive either. Are there Roth accounts out there where my money could sit in, for example a CD, etc. until I figure out what my investment strategy should be.? I appreciate your advice.
Joan Koonce, Ph.D:
expert info »
Yes, there is a way to check out a broker/dealer or investment adviser. If you go to the following website: http://www.sec.gov and click on the 'check out brokers and advisers' link, you will find
information on checking out brokers and advisers. Money in a Roth IRA can be invested in a variety of different investments, including CDs. If you check with the person who set up the Roth IRA for you, he or she should be able to help you. Depending on who you have your money invested with, you may be able to go to their website and make changes to your investments or have the person do it for you.
Gail V. Marquet:
expert info »
Look for a stable, local broker. Local credit unions usually have a provider, Members Financial Services, which has been in business and affiliated with credit unions thru the Credit Union National Association forever. They are highly reputable and will assess your financial goals to assist you with making investment choices which will best suit your long-term goals.
Delores Lenzy - Jones, CPA, CIA:
expert info »
Check the fund's prospectus or financial statements. You could discern from those financial instruments.
Bettye J. Banks:
expert info »
I suggest checking with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Under Government in the phone book) to determine any pending complaints regarding a specific investment organization. Remember, your investment professionals will get their fees for managing the account, whether you have earnings or not.
Kimberly Dryden:
expert info »
There are two things to consider when assessing the safety of your Roth IRA. One, what the funds are invested in, and [two,] who is handling the investment. There are many places and vehicles that you can use to set up and invest in a Roth IRA. Most common are brokerages, banks and insurance companies. To check on brokerages or investment advisors, ask to see their SIPC insurance coverage certificate. It should be displayed prominently. This insurance does not cover normal investment losses, but does cover losses if the brokerage fails owing you money. Your broker or investment advisor should give you a prospectus of funds that your account is invested in. This should tell you what the specific kinds of companies the fund has bought stocks or bonds in. Roth IRAs can also be invested in banks. Funds there are insured by FDIC. My recommendation is to research information on the internet.